On December 26th, a series of earthquakes occurred in the area of the western coast of Northern Sumatra, Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands. The two strongest earthquakes had the magnitude of 8.9 and 7.3. The earthquakes caused tsunamis impacting nine countries in the region leaving more than 150,000 dead and a further 4M forced from their homes. Over 12 countries are affected as far away as Somalia and Kenya with Aceh province in Indonesia and Sri Lanka said to be worst hit.
Within hours of the disaster Architecture for Humanity and worldchanging.com, a web site covering “Tools, models and ideas for building a better future” jointly launched a reconstruction appeal with a target of $100,000. Within four months we have raised close to $400,000 from over 3500 individual donors.
Donations came from seventh graders, general contractors, established design professionals to architecture students. In addition to many individuals who have responded, small businesses and individual groups ran fund raising initiatives on our behalf.
This appeal, 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 of reconstruction, a truly world changing idea, the funds will help to build beyond simple dwellings to live but create real communities for life to grow, rebuild and renew.
We are currently working on the building of community and civic buildings in Kirinda, Sri Lanka, school building in partnership with Relief International in Pottuvil, Sri Lanka and on the construction of three community centres* in small coastal villages in Cuddalore, India.
Prior to this response Architecture for Humanity has been involved in previous reconstruction efforts in Grenada, Iran (Bam) and Kosovo, where transitional structures, permanent homes and community spaces where built for less than $3500 through local relief groups. These partnerships are formed with groups who employ local labor and utilize local construction techniques as well as economic and environmental sustainability. By working those affected this keeps funds within the community, creates micro-economies for those trying to get out of this disaster and is the most cost-effective way of rebuilding. As Alex Steffen of worldchanging.com calls a small good thing in a large tragedy.
*this project is being carried out by LEAD, who have been established in the area for the past 15 years.