Volunteers unload a mediagua.
The "mediagua"-- which means "half water" -- is a small 200-square-foot wooden prefabricated house that rests on 2-foot-high stilts to keep out rain and flood water. It has two rooms, each with a single open window, and one door to the outside. With no electricity, water or heat, it can be erected within a day.
It was designed a few years ago by an architecture student at the
Universidad del Desarrollo, and used in Chile to provide temporary shelter for the homeless poor in urban slums. Now it is being distributed by government and relief organizations to rural victims of the massive February 2010 earthquake.