Conflict and Natural Disasters
Tsunami disaster: Rebuilding Efforts
As we all know, timely rebuilding of homes is necessary to restore communities and livelihood. I found the following organizations that are focused on this task:

Habitat for Humanity is present in six of the twelve affected countries and already has construction plans for Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand, for which it is seeking donations. Architects Without Borders is also seeking donations and skilled volunteers (particularly project managers with relief experience) to work closely with other NGO's and government response teams. Architecture for Humanity is currently assessing the extent of damage and the cost of reconstruction in the worst hit areas of Sri Lanka and the Aceh District of Indonesia. Rebuilding efforts by Shelter for Life are also focused on Sri Lanka, where they have been present since 1999, rebuilding homes destroyed by the civil war.

I have not been able to find information on more country-specific organizations that are focused on re-building homes, except for Association for India's Development (AID), which has posted funds request for the construction of huts for 128 families left homeless in Pudhukkuppam and Pudhuppettai. Does anyone know of any others?

Relief and Rehabilitation Tasks in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Ozgur Basak Alkan
Tsunami disaster: Rebuilding Efforts
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an agency affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network, has mobilised staff, volunteers and resources to provide humanitarian aid in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Assessment and distribution teams are currently working in coordination with government authorities and local relief agencies. With the situation in Andhra Pradesh improving, plans are made for the next phase of assistance, which will include rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives. The neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu is still in a critical situation and more humanitarian aid is required.

At the request of the Government of Maharashtra (India), FOCUS donated tents, torches, battery cells, blankets and bottled water, which was airlifted to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The tents have the capacity to shelter approximately 8000 people.

With funds received from the Canadian Government, FOCUS will be procuring and distributing fishing nets and boat repair kits to help restore livelihoods of the people affected by the disaster. For more information on the relief efforts of FOCUS, see newsletter on AKDN website.
Ozgur Basak Alkan
Tsunami disaster: Rebuilding Efforts
SARID (South Asia Research Institute for policy and Development) is a non-profit that is operating in areas in Sri Lanka not yet reached by the Army and/or govt
transport. While we are not providing shelter, we are providing much needed country-specific aid. We shall be concentrating on smaller centres in the East that are suffering, and whose needs are urgent. These are areas even the U.N. NGOs, don't want to/or cannot venture out to, due to lack of transport and logisitics support.

Example of some of the supplies we are taking are:

Mosquito nets
Mosquito coils
Lemon-grass oil
Women's clothing (mainly Muslim)
Children's clothes- cotton
curry powder and chillie powder
Cooking utensils
Clay cooking pots
Nails - 2 - 3 sizes
Tooth brushes

While these things sound pretty basic, these are the immediate need of the people. Please, consider us if you are still looking to donate. You can do so at our website
Mahjabeen Quadri
Tsunami disaster: Rebuilding Efforts
I've just read the following on the BBC News Website that may be of interest to all:

Aceh restoration 'close to zero' The Indonesian official co-ordinating the recovery of tsunami-hit Aceh has said reconstruction there has hardly begun, five months after the disaster.

The entire newspiece is at:

Ozgur Basak Alkan
Tsunami disaster: Rebuilding Efforts
I want to take the opportunity to contribute some of the experience made in reconstruction projects:

From the social point of view in situ reconstruction is the preferred option. Social fabric remains intact and it is also the cheapest approach, as infrastructure, debris material, foundations etc. can be re-used. Owners involvement is also easier than at a new site far away from the old village.

A typical flaw in the architectural design is the missing understanding of the beneficiaries' needs and way of living. Existing housing patterns normally are an excellent indication on this. Only if the designer has fully understood, what villagers need he might be able to propose a better solution. Normally it is safe to follow the traditional layout as it presents a long development and experience.

An example: communities, that use to live in a court yard arrangement with a covered sitting place from where one can control the whole compound got new houses where that place is orientated to the road. They can no longer control easily what is going on in the court (children, animals, storage). Some found a way out by building a mud house at the traditional place of the plot and used the donated house as a stable. They were blamed a s backwards. It is of course the designer who is to blame.

If a settlement had to be partially or fully relocated (which makes only sense, if the old place has proved to be most dangerous or if a overcrowded village needs some extension) village design needs to be done. It shall create spaces, neighbourhoods and surroundings in which one can feel at home. Identification is difficult to achieve with monotone layout and standardized houses. However, the "easy to inaugurate" type of new villages: settlements close to the main roads with a grid layout, where one can easily verify the numbers by multiplying rows and columns.
Disaster resistance is a mayor problem in rehabilitation/retrofitting and in new construction. The earthquake safe design standards and the know-how is there. For normal housing it is technically simple and cheap, but it does not happen in many cases. Obviously it is the problem to get the information to the field, to have technical capable supervisors and people with the right mind-set.

For normal houses, a shear-wall system with bands and tension members is the easiest and most efficient design for earthquake resistance. However, typical mistakes normally prevail in the field like the wrong placement of the reinforcement and too many openings in the walls or openings, that left walls unstiffened.

Even a layman can detect deficits of the shear walls, e. g. from photos in many brochures:
(i) a door or window shall not be placed directly at the perpendicular wall
(ii) openings in a wall (the horizontal sum of door- and window-widths) shall not be more than 50 %

There are details in reinforcement that double the strength for certain load-cases, practically without additional cost.. Cyclone safety of tiled roof (cheaper than concrete slabs and climatically better) was of little concern or dealt with in a very expensive way. Simple wire anchoring of tiles and roof structure solves this problem. It is of course a matter of recognizing the problem and technical knowledge how to do it.
The combination of a local and international consulting office proved good. It resulted in a thinking out of the box and a recognition of the typical local needs, constrains and approaches.

All information and training needs to be focused on the specific problem and level. Villagers for example need not to be confused with earthquake safety requirements of large buildings, e. g. restrictions in shape. It is difficult enough to get the required improvements done for their normal houses.

Similar applies to information material and training of masons and supervisors as well as for people involved in the site specific adaptation of designs.

Dr.-Ing. Norbert Wilhelm
Norbert E. Wilhelm


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