Building Back Better

09/10/2012 – Mrs. Empat, 48, with her 6 year-old grandson Aep, are members of one of the 1.500 families in West Java which have benefited from an ECHO-funded project to build transitional shelters for the victims of the devastating earthquake in September 2009.

The earthquake which struck on 2 September 2009, measured 7.0 of the Richter scale, killing 79 people and injuring over 1,250. The government estimates that over 87,000 homes and public buildings were damaged, displacing some 210,000 people, Indonesia’s deadliest earthquake since 2006. ECHO contributed €1.5 million to the recovery effort, focusing on providing transitional shelters and training local construction workers.

For ECHO and its partners it was very important for the communities not to repeat the mistakes of the past. In one project managed by the German NGO “Arbeiter Samariter Bund” ASB, local workers are given new skills in combining the use of modern and traditional materials such as walls made from woven bamboo fixed on a bamboo frame which are secured in a brick and a concrete foundation. This mix of strong foundations and flexible structure is much cheaper and safer than previous construction methods using just brick and mortar. With pre-fabricated bamboo panels, bamboo poles and roof tiles provided by aid agencies with ECHO funding, a team of villagers can complete a new home in a week.

By Mathias Eick,
Regional Information Officer in Bangkok