Creating disaster-resistant shelters to reduce the risk of natural disasters

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Caritas India with the support of United Way Bengaluru (UWB), Caritas Germany, Hilfswerk and CEI is creating a series of cyclone-resilient shelters for the coastal communities of Odisha.

Following to the devastation caused by Cyclone FANI in Odisha, recovery and rehabilitation program has been initiated by Caritas India to build 308-disaster resilient permanent and transitional shelter by incorporating several Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) features. Apart from shelter, livelihood restoration was also ensured to the most marginalized household in the intervention area.

The design of the permanent disaster-resilient house serve the multi-hazard resistance and equipped with anchorage, bracings, Connections, Detailings etc.

The walls will be constructed using English bonding brick walling with GCI sheet roof which can tolerate the wind speed of 120-150 Kmph and Anchorage with tie-beam with all the column to keep the structure strong in the ground.

To make the foundation strong, permanent shelter uses Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) column foundation and for Transitional use Brick stubs foundation. Both the foundations are flood resistant and designed to accommodate the load.

Caritas India Odisha State team engaged pool of expert engineers, licensed contractors and masons to complete the project. Mr. Ramchandra Panda, a Civil Engineer and DRR expert has design the shelter and providing technical support in the entire process of construction. A total of five government licensed holder contractors and around 100 experienced masons and more than 300 labours are engaged at present. The masons are now serving their local communities and educating fellow masons on disaster risk for shelter construction and capacity building. The state team are organizing training and capacity building to the contractor, site supervisor, mason and labour on various aspect of DRR.

An orientation cum training program on disaster-resilient shelter (Permanent and Transitional) was organized in the State Office, Bhubaneswar on August 02, 2020. The contractor, site supervisor and project staff were part of this training program.

This training aimed to enhance the knowledge of Transitional and permanent shelter design and techniques, giving clarity on different aspects and stages of construction and have a common understanding of quality control on shelter construction materials.

“Caritas India has taken this initiative to select the most deserving beneficiaries by following inclusion strategy”, informed Nutan Kumar, Caritas India State Officer of Odisha. He stated that the project has adopted an owner-driven approach to ensure full control of the owner from design to execution.

Er. Rachandra Panda shared various aspect of DRR and technicality of cyclone construction work. Engineers and contractors will work together to develop disaster-resilient construction using localize structure, materials and skills. the layout of the house is simple and multipurpose, supporting the lifestyle of the local community.

The programme can address multi-hazard issues in one setting. Over the years, the Caritas India has constructed disaster cyclone shelter across the country, and it is well accepted by the expert and engineers. This time too, the efforts of creating resilience among communities will help them in coping with the natural disasters.