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Any situations or examples of a lack of beds, e.g. disaster relief, refugee camps etc.?


I am developing a low-cost, portable and durable bed for homeless people in the UK. We would also like to look at using it overseas in a humanitarian development context. Obviously the more pressing needs are food, clean water, sanitation, shelter etc., but does anyone have any experience of a context when a bed might be useful?

Many thanks

2 Answers


The only reason why I would use beds is in healthcare settings to facilitate cleaning and to make it more comfortable for staff to work.

The only other setting I would see beds as useful would be to create a 'thermal' barrier between a cold floor and a person. But I'm not sure if a bed is the best approach: if the ambient air is cold and the floor 'relatively' warm, you're better off with sleeping on blankets/mats on the floor. That off course if you have sufficient drainage, but there are other techniques for that. An additional problem with beds is that in an emergency, when space is always in short supply, beds take a lot of space and may not fit.

In a first emergency, I wouldn't take beds, just extra blankets that are cheaper and easier/lighter to transport. At a later stage, beds can create a certain element of comfort and allow more storage (underneath the bed). In a development context, you would tend to have the beds made locally (if possible). hope that helps.


I am interested, please can you contact me at