Thu, 20 Feb, 2020

Temporary Houses For The Earthquake Survivors

By Kundan Shumsher Rana

All Photos By: Kundan Shumsher Rana

prayfornepalWith the recent earthquakes many people in Nepal have lost their houses. They are left to fend for themselves and they do not have any place to stay other than inside tents or under the open sky. With the monsoon season just around the corner many people are wondering where they can go to avoid the rain. Many people have already begun to build shelters for themselves. They take the materials of  their fallen houses, collect some other materials and build temporary shelters. They have already begun this process in the affected villages.

You might have heard recently that a semi-permanent house can be built for the survivors for just Rs 13000. Can this claim be true? If so, where are the houses and the people who build them?

On 17th May, some students from DWIT went to Pulchowk Campus to investigate this matter. What we saw there was amazing as well as heart breaking. The news of the Rs 13000 semi-permanent house was only partially true. This was because the Rs 13000 was the cost of only the skeleton of the house. The total cost would be Rs 13000 + (additional materials to build the walls). When we saw this we were sad to hear it. We observed three different types of models for these types of houses and all three had different prices.

[caption id="attachment_6694" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig01 Outside View of model 01[/caption]

This is the first model we observed. They called it “Charito Ghar”. It has a sq footage of 12ft*15ft. It has an attached solar panel at the top to generate electricity. It is made almost entirely of tin. So to make the inside more hospitable different types of materials cover the inside and outside of the roof. As you can see in the picture this tin house is covered by plants on the outside and a thick foam inside. This house costs Rs 35000 to build and takes about 60 minutes to complete.

[caption id="attachment_6697" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig02 Inside View of model 01[/caption]

The second model we observed is as shown in the picture below. It was more hospitable since the structure was similar to any other house in the village. The roof was covered with lots of branches, plastic and other materials to prevent heat and  rain. The walls were made of bricks and looked sturdy.

[caption id="attachment_6698" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig04 Outside view of model 02[/caption]

We were told that the walls can be built of any other materials like stones, wood, or any other material that the locals may have. Many materials are not required to build this type of house and only a few construction equipments are needed. This is the house that costs Rs 13000 for the skeleton while any other costs depends of the type of walls and facility that the residents need. This type of house seemed more reliable for the villagers to protect themselves from the monsoon.

[caption id="attachment_6699" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig04-1 Outside view of model 02[/caption]

The third type of house was “in the works” when we got there. It was a shelter made entirely of bamboo. This shelter was more aimed towards the livestock of the villagers rather than villagers themselves. It was tall and didn't seem that it would keep a family safe.

[caption id="attachment_6700" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig05 Model 03: Bamboo house for villagers[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6701" align="aligncenter" width="500"]fig05-1 Another model of Bamboo Shelter[/caption]

These are the three types of semi permanent houses which are ready for the survivors. The volunteers only need to go to the destroyed villages and build the houses. A village of 35-40 houses can be build in a day using these models. With the monsoon season approaching people in villages are in desperate need of shelter and these houses can help them.