Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bamboo Shelters for victims of Indonesian earthquake - Learning from past experiences.

Learning from previous earthquakes. 13 days after the severe earthquake in West Java, the Indonesian Red Cross build the first transitional shelters out of new bamboo (see left of picture) and use the old roof tiles from the collapsed house in the centre-right of the picture. This must be a record in the previous history of the early recovery phase of earthquakes, in getting strong transitional shelters up so quickly. Photo: Bob McKerrow
PMI volunteers work round the clock to put up strong bamboo shelters for earthquake victims at Sukamana village near to the top of Malabar, an ancient volcano in West Java. Photo: Bob McKerrow

A tent city has been assembled by the Indonesian Red Cross at Sukamana village. Photo: Bob McKerrow

It’s two weeks ago today that a serious earthquake struck West Java here in Indonesia.
Latest figures put the number of people displaced at 177,490 and 65,592 houses severely damaged.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the work being done by the Indonesian Red Cross when I travelled with the Chairman and Secretary General after the strong earthquake that struck western Java on the afternoon of 2 September, 2009. Staff and volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross or Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) were deployed immediately to do assessments and in the first 48 hours 1,500 family tents, 3,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 blankets and sleeping mats as well as 1000 hygiene kits were dispatched to the affected areas.

Yesterday I was so excited to see the brilliant work being done by the PMI, especially in getting the first bamboo transitional shelters up. The PMI learned valuable lessons from the Yogyakarta earthquake that struck Central Java in 2006, when they quickly built 12,500 transitional shelters out of bamboo, at a cost of approximately US$ 170. These shelters have a life of up to five years and the enable people to get out of tents within a few months.
The PMI plan to build an initial 3000 transitional bamboo shelters.

Yesterday we had a meeting on site with Mar'ie Muhammad, Chairman PMI, Iyang Sukandar Secretary General PMI, and Bill Marsden, country coordinator Australian Red Cross about increasing the number of shelters. Experienced volunteers from the Yogyakarta Chapter PMI have come to this affected area and are using their construction experience from the Yogyakarta earthquake, to put quality shelters up quickly.

The secretary-general PMI Iyang Sukandar (right) discusses the merits of a recently constructed bamboo transitional shelter built by PMI volunteers. They plan to build 3000 such shelters in the coming weeks. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Many houses in Bandung district are totally destroyed. Photo: Bob McKerrow

A tangle of roof beams is all that remains of one house in Jagabaya village, Bandung district. Photo: Bob McKerrow
People are clearing the rubbish from collapsed houses in Ciamis after an earthquake hit West Java. Photo by: Kikin Kuswandi/Indonesian Red Cross


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