A human development approach for the construction of safe and healthy adobe houses in seismic areas

Blondet, Marcial (2009). "A human development approach for the construction of safe and healthy adobe houses in seismic areas" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

The Pisco, Peru, earthquake of August 15th 2007 caused the death of 593 persons, the destruction of almost one hundred thousand houses and many historical monuments, built mainly with adobe. The Peruvian government promptly created a special agency to manage the reconstruction process (FORSUR). All the citizens who lost their homes would receive a universal reconstruction bonus (about US $2000), and those who qualified would be offered a low-interest loan to buy new housing made with confined masonry. Unfortunately, many thousands of families do not qualify for the loan, and will have to rebuild their homes only with the small bonus offered by the government. This paper presents a proposal developed by the Catholic University of Peru and CARE Peru for the dissemination, training and construction of new earthquake-resistant and healthy houses made of reinforced adobe, to be built by low-income families. The philosophy behind the proposal is that the communities involved in the reconstruction process should not be mere recipients of external aid, but should be agents of their own development. An important goal of the process is therefore the development of the capacities of the participants in such a way that in the future they will be capable of building safe and healthy adobe houses. The proposal involves the development of educational materials, dissemination strategies for improving adobe construction, training of the community builders, logistics of materials purchase, and supervision of the construction by the home owners, and follow-up of the quality of future construction with adobe.
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