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Researcher creates flood proof homes

Wednesday 5 June 2019

LIFE CHANGING flood-proof homes are being built in Nepal, as part of an ambitious project led by a University of Salford researcher.

Komal Aryal, who was originally born in Nepal and now works as a Disaster Researcher at the University of Salford, is on a mission to put an end to the severe damage caused by monsoon flooding, which forces locals to flee their homes every year.

Working with the National Red Cross Disaster Team, Komal and his colleagues have been piloting a new scheme in the region of Terai, using Taiwanese bamboo technology to cost-effectively flood-proof homes. So far, the project has seen 20 newly-trained locals build five houses. From January 2008 to 2018, over 1,700 people died and over one million were made homeless as a result of flooding in the area, highlighting the severity of the issue.

“These bamboo homes cost less than $2,000 to build, as they make use of natural resources and organic farming, making them extremely cost-effective. By teaching the people how to build the buildings themselves, in a safe manner, we are creating a self-sufficient structure,” Komal said. 

Dr. Yi-Chung Liu, Senior Disaster Researcher representing the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), said: “As part of this ambitious scheme, a number of Taiwanese volunteers, who have been using bamboo houses for generations immediately after disaster incidents, have been recruited to travel to Nepal. Through this project those mountainous Taiwanese communities have been able to transfer their own knowledge to the people of Terai, equipping them with the skills needed to plant, cut and build emergency houses with the bamboo.” 

In addition to this, the Taiwanese volunteers, through PCT funding, have been able to supply the seeds needed to grow straight bamboo, which is less prone to breaking during earthquakes and easy to construct houses from during an emergency situation. They have also taught preservation methods to make the homes more durable.

Komal added: “This climate risk smart village uses 80% natural materials. It is exciting to see whether the people of Terai will now feel able to stay put during the monsoon season and possible future earthquakes- this village is situated just above one of the active earthquake plates. I hope this is going to save them from the constant distress and expense caused by rebuilding every year after monsoon; it may even save lives.”

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Holly Attwell

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