January 4, 2005
by Canadian Architect
Between 12:00 am and 7.30 am GMT on December 26, a series of earthquakes occurred in the area of the western coast of Northern Sumatra, Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands. The strongest earthquakes had a magnitude of 9.0, causing tsunamis impacting ten countries in the region leaving well over 100,000 dead and a further million forced from their homes.
As with previous natural disasters, registered non-profit organization Architecture for Humanity was contacted by a number of regionally based NGOs for assistance. Within hours of the disaster, a reconstruction fund was established specifically to deal with rebuilding issues. The organization is appealing not only for funds but local architectural and engineering contacts for possible consultation work. As with all disaster relief operations they are committed to zero overhead and administrative costs. All design/consulting services are being donated pro-bono. AfH is working with Worldchanging.com [www.worldchanging.com], an organization and website covering "tools, models and ideas for building a better future" and they have jointly launched a reconstruction appeal. They set an initial target of $10,000 to be raised by the end of the year, with 100% of the donations going specifically to rebuilding efforts.
Architecture for Humanity has been involved in similar responses to Bam, Iran and Grenada, where permanent homes were built for less than $2,000 through local relief groups. These partnerships are formed with groups who employ local labour and utilize local construction techniques as well as economic and environmental sustainability. By working with those affected, funds are kept within the community creating micro-economies for those trying to escape this disaster. Furthermore, this is the most cost-effective way of rebuilding.
Other websites and blogs such as Boing Boing, SEA-EAT, Archinect and Core 77 have picked up and promoted the appeal. Within a day the reconstruction appeal surpassed its goal, and by 72 hours the donations and pledges pushed it over the $25,000 mark. This increased goal will be enough to build more than a dozen homes.
Now Architecture for Humanity and Worldchanging.com want to raise their target to $100,000. This increased goal, coupled with pro-bono design services and material donations, will allow for the building of more than just basic shelter, allowing the construction of schools, infrastructure and medical clinics. With a more holistic and sustainable approach to reconstruction, the funds will help extend beyond simple dwellings to create real communities enabling life to grow, rebuild and renew.
To donate funds or for more information on the rebuilding effort, log onto www.architectureforhumanity.org or www.worldchanging.com.