‘New normal’ demands sturdier, low-cost shelter

By November 12, 2014News, Slider, Uncategorized

Thursday, November 6, 2014

SUPER typhoon Yolanda left not only damage of catastrophic proportions but also disaster response and resiliency lessons that survivors had to learn the hard way.

Wooden houses of poor farming and fishing communities in northern Cebu, even those built out of concrete, didn’t stand a chance against Yolanda’s powerful winds and heavy rains.

Only hours after Yolanda made landfall, one lesson seemed clear: there’s a need to build typhoon-resilient houses because a stronger house is no longer advisable, but necessary.

There is now a conscious effort to make stronger houses—thicker walls and columns, sturdier roofs—that don’t easily get blown away in case a storm as powerful as Yolanda crosses Cebu’s path again.

No damage

Last July 26, at 7:45 a.m., a water spout hit a resettlement area in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan town, said Engr. Melania Lazar.

By then, a model house had already been built in the area, now known as “the French Village.”

But the water spout failed to damage the duplex, Lazar said, as its roof, made of thin concrete shell, can resist strong typhoon winds.

The housing project, which can accommodate 76 households, is developed by Habitat for Humanity, France-Philippines United Action and Lafarge, a French industrial company specializing in major architectural products.

Five international Red Cross chapters are helping build houses for typhoon Yolanda survivors in the towns of Daanbantayan, Bantayan, San Remigio and Madridejos and the City of Bogo.

Things to remember when building a house

Infographic by John Gilbert Manantan of Sun.Star Cebu. CLICK TO ENLARGE

10 days to build

Although only half of the house is made of concrete and the other half is made of wood, the structures are designed to withstand typhoons. It has an open floor plan, and has a kitchen, bathroom and water supply. The project is on-site reconstruction of houses that were damaged or destroyed during the typhoon. Beneficiaries own the land.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Cebu City Chapter said it takes only 10 days to construct one unit, but because of the scale of the project, they are targeting to finish the construction of all houses by Nov. 8, 2015, or two years after Yolanda
struck.

(The PNRC declined to disclose the total number of houses they are constructing and the number of the project’s beneficiaries, a policy adopted by all partner national societies.)

The French Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, German Red Cross, Taiwan Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross are undertaking the housing projects with the PNRC Cebu Chapter.

‘Container homes’

In Bogo City, site development for 75 homes made of container vans is ongoing in Barangay Cayang, one of the resettlement areas for families affected by the 40-meter no-build zone.

This housing project is funded by the Philippine American Society of Arts and Culture (PASAC), a US-based non-profit corporation engaged in social and charitable activities.

Jocelyn Tan, Bogo City external vice chair for rehabilitation, said the containers, known for their strength and durability, can survive natural disasters.

Tan said that for the container vans to withstand strong typhoons, these will be supported with concrete footings. On top of it, a room will also be built with a veranda.

In the same village, about 30 houses made of earth blocks will be built by Light of Jesus, a religious, non-profit organization. Some 14 metal houses, with materials coming from China, built by Mabuting Pilipino will also rise in the area.

Architect Carmencito Edalio told Sun.Star Cebu that these duplex metal houses can be assembled in two days. Work can be finished in less than a week, depending on the concrete flooring.

Source: Sun Star Cebu