Refugees to stay in Ikea flat-pack homes in Switzerland

A canton in Switzerland has said it is planning to buy Ikea-designed flat-pack homes to house asylum-seekers.

Politicians in Aargau said the 17.5sq m homes had been tested to standards specified by the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency.

Authorities will buy 200 of the houses and will set up 60 in an industrial estate near the town of Frick in 2016. The project will provide temporary shelter for up to 300 people, they said. Kit homes will be placed within two warehouses in the industrial zone.

The units, which arrive in the same cardboard boxes as other large pieces of Ikea furniture, can be set up in four hours. The kits cost 1,200 Swiss francs each (£785), plus around 500 Swiss francs for furniture required. However, the shelters are not heated, nor do they have power connections. Meanwhile, the Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has suggested the country's network of nuclear fallout shelters are opened to house migrants.

The emergency public bunkers can provide shelter for up to 50,000 people.

"The situation would be chaotic, and not designed for several months," he said during a meeting with military personnel in Bern canton. "We could offer a roof over their heads and warm soup to tens of thousands of people," he added.

Switzerland said recently it was prepared to take in some 5,000 refugees in the next two years.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Europe this year alone from countries at war or experiencing serious economic conditions.

Main picture via Better Shelter

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