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Sheltering refugees in troubled spots

International military companies are targeting political hotspots in the Middle East to supply mobile shelters at refugee camps

Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News
Trade visitors in the General Dynamics stand area at Idex on Tuesday.
Gulf News

Dubai: International military companies are targeting political hotspots in the Middle East to supply mobile shelters and hospitals at refugee camps, especially following the humanitarian crisis of the mass exodus of Syrian refugees into neighbouring countries.

Janada, a Bahrain-based consultant for military equipment, is looking for business opportunities in Turkey and Jordan where Syrian refugee camps are located to sell its military tents as shelter for the refugees, the company president told Gulf News.

“They have tents there but they are cheap and not comfortable,” said Nader Eldajani, president and chief executive of Janada, on the sidelines of Idex in its third day.

“Our tents are fire resistant, endure high winds and they are easy to up in any location, even mountainous areas, because of a special design that makes it stable on uneven ground,” he said.

A storm earlier this winter left tents destroyed in a Syrian refugee camp in Zaatari, Jordan leaving its residents in misery and muddy waters.

“Even if it’s just a tent, it should be a safe haven for a family. They would look for something safe that would provide privacy, especially for Muslim women,” Eldajani said.

Janada’s 20 metre square tents would cost about ¤10,000 (Dh49,000) depending on size and configuration, he said.

Losberger, a German group specialising in rapid deployment systems, said it is interested in entering the Jordan and Lebanon markets to provide mobile shelters and hospitals to refugee camps there.

“Chinese and Pakistani tents are made with very thin textiles, they are made for no more than a year. We chose to make quality, we build for 10 to 15 years,” said Matthieu Dujon, marketing and research development manager at Losberger.

“We are working to find new opportunities and Idex is a way to meet regional clients. There’s a growth potential of 70-75 per cent growth in the Middle East,” he said.

The company has supplied military camps in Iraq and Oman and won tenders to supply Medecins Sans Frontier and the Red Cross with mobile shelters and hospitals.

Weatherhaven, a UK-based company specialising in reusable shelter systems, said the Middle East is a vast market for mobile hospitals.

The company has teamed with HISS Emirates, a safety and security installation company in Abu Dhabi, to showcase its products, said Ian Rogers, managing director of Weatherhaven.

It is looking at the GCC countries, Jordan and Saudi as potential markets for field hospitals, he said.

In Dubai, Janada is in talks with Dnata to sell customised versions of its field tents to hotels that want to build camps in the desert, Eldajani said.

The possible deal would also include Geopure, a tankless mobile shower that saves water. Filling the shower with just 50 litres of water can allow users 50 showers, he said. The water is recycled and purified through a solar-powered system.

The tents can be divided into different rooms and accommodate the mobile showers for the desert campers — a different set up from the refugee camp requirements, he said.

“It can be simple or it can be exclusive. We have options available.”