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Video Message for KLWT

KLWT IDPs Relief


1. The method/solution of providing Non-Tented shelter differ between rural/mountainous and urban/semi urban dwellings.

2. There are different solutions required for Non-Tented shelters that are valid for different altitudes. The needs are different at <4000ft and >5000ft

3. There are different solutions required for Non-Tented shelters if they are intended as permanent rehabilitation shelters (basically homes) and immediate shelters for the protection against the winter cold and snows. In the disasteraffected areas below 4000ft most if not all earthquake survivors are considering making permanent shelters rather than any temporary shelter. Even the temporary shelters being made above 5000 ft are being made to last at least 1 to 2 years because people cannot afford to rebuild their houses again and again.

4. Wood is plentiful throughout most of the disaster-affected areas. Most of the wood is recovered from their destroyed house. Wooden structures are also more tolerant to earthquakes. Most non-tented shelters being proposed that I have come across are based on a steel/metallic frame structure. I would recommend the use of wooden frames as this is in most cases available, reduces the overall rebuilding cost by using salvaged materials, has a greater acceptance from the local community and the local community are familiar with working with wood.

5. Tin or Galvanised Iron sheets are being commonly proposed as the building material of choice simply hammered on to a wooden frame structure. Using it as roofing is widely accepted as the "only" immediately available solution that has acceptance from the local communities. However, using Corrugated Galvanised Iron (CGI) sheets as a wall in shelters is not recommended at high altitudes as living in an all metallic shelter is not a very "warm" solution in winter nights and becomes an oven during the day.

6. Local/regional and cultural considerations need to be considered in each shelter design. Acceptance of the shelter design and materials by the affected communities is mandatory for effective utilisation of already scarce financial resources. In other words, no local inhabitant will say no to what you give him/her for free. It is how they will use the shelter provided which will determine how useful our/your contribution is.

7. The earthquake affected populations need to get their mind off the "disaster" itself and look towards rebuilding their lives. Care must be taken not to make dependants or beggars out of the survivors. They must be encouraged in every possible manner to also help themselves to rebuild their shattered lives. In other words, they need to also participate and contribute towards their rehabilitation

8. Providing tool kits to self-build or repair their shelters has been a successful way of getting the community to get on with their lives. More interestingly, the provision of tools has also limited the number of earthquake survivors willing to move to tented villages, set up in cities, in an alien environment, with its other more difficult and long-term social and rehabilitation problems. Below is a quote

from a news article written by Navajo Indian regarding how the US Govt. treated them and what they actually wanted:

"Now we have communities that are more sustainable, and the people are very proud because they are building them themselves . the U.S. government always used to come in and say 'here's housing' or 'here's corn -- you don't need to grow your own' -- and that created slums and dependence and made people lose respect for themselves and their communities. We want to get back to being self-sustaining"

Details of this quote are available on the following web link:


9. The provision of CGI sheets seems for now to be the most appropriate manner for the earthquake affected population to have a roof over their heads. The number of people affected (3.3 Million) and the physical geographical area and terrain affected, simply means that every able body in the disaster-affected region will have to be involved in the rebuilding process if we are to get things done in the limited time remaining. How many homes or shelters will the Govt or donors worldwide be able to provide in the limited time frame remaining? The structure or frame of the shelters needs to be made by the local affectees (preferably using wood) and the roofing (CGI) can be donated where mud roofs previously existed and/or no re-usable CGI sheets exist.

10. Insulation between the CGI roof and the shelter living area needs to be considered. This can be provided using a layer of hay or corn trapped between the CGI Sheet roof and a wooden frame layer. Alternately, a thin non weight bearing mud roof can be made in a similar manner as done before, except that as it will not be weight bearing, it can be thin enough to insulate the internal portion of the shelter from the cold snow clad roof yet at the same time not be too damaging in case of its collapse in case of a strong earthquake.

11. Side walls also need to have certain insulating properties within their inherent design. High stone wall structures need to be strongly discouraged due to the potential threat from future earthquakes. Whatever, eventual structure or design is adopted, care must be taken to ensure that the shelter is as tolerant to earthquakes as possible under the circumstances. Basically good simple wooden designs are better tolerant to earthquakes. Many earthquake survivors will require advice on construction methods and techniques to help them move away from their previous construction methods.

12. The non-tented shelters need to incorporate a wood fired stove for cooking and heating purposes. A flume to vent out the smoke needs to be incorporated in the design and construction.

13. The total cost of an immediate semi-permanent shelter needs to be less than Pak Rs 15,000 to 20,000 (US$ 250 to US$ 335 or UK £ 150 to UK £ 200) in new materials. The rest of the materials are salvaged from the destroyed shelters. Labour costs are minimal if the inhabitant himself rebuilds his shelter.

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