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Funds Needed To Build Earthquake Resistant Homes In Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Habitat for Humanity is set on rebuilding with five earthquake-devastated communities in Prambanan, Birin, Klaras, Klegen and Sribit

YOGYAKARTA: 11th July 2006 - Habitat for Humanity Indonesia has initiated a one-year plan to build 1,000 initial core houses that will be better able to withstand the effects of a major earthquake.

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Initial Core House: Illustration of the type of homes to be built in the earthquake-devastated communities of Prambanan, Birin, Klaras, Klegen and Sribit

A key lesson, which survivors of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that shook the city of Yogyakarta and the surrounding region in May, learnt rather abruptly.

“Based on our assessment of the wreckage, the failure of the buildings were due to insufficient reinforced concrete structural frames and improper mortar materials,” said Henry Feriadi, chairman of Habitat for Humanity Indonesia Jogjakarta affiliate and acting project manager for the Indonesia earthquake disaster response project.

In many villages, away from the city centre, few houses had steel-reinforced concrete columns and beams and often there was no mortar at all in the brick walls except mud.

Habitat for Humanity Indonesia is connecting with communities and setting up a Habitat Resource Center to help villagers improve the quality of construction of their houses.

The idea is to construct simple, easy to build initial core houses with a proven structural frame made of reinforced concrete. Attention will be paid to strengthen the joints between the foundation and the column, the column and the beams, using the principle of Moment Resistance Frame Structure.

The wooden roof frame will feature corrugated sheets of fibre cement for its lighter weight. For the walls, the first one-metre from the foundation will be made of bricks, followed by wooden partitions with GRC cladding. This combined wall construction would reduce material weight, compared to an all-brick wall and also allows for easier modification once the home partners wish to extend their core houses.

The estimated cost of an initial core house is US$1,700.

There is flexibility in rebuilding. While the structural support elements of a core house are similar, the walls or partitions vary based on the creativity of the home partners and the participation of the community. The use of existing windows and door frames collected from the debris will influence the design of the house built.

Habitat for Humanity has been working in partnership with the Faculties of Engineering, from the Duta Wacana Christian University, The Centre of Environment and Human Settlements and the Soeigopranoto Catholic University in Semarang.

The Yogyakarta Habitat affiliate has also started “Re-Act” (Reaching out Architect), a three-month apprentice program for architectural or civil engineering students. These students from local universities will assist Habitat field staff in consulting the community about their house design, designing and drafting, and supervising house construction.

Those who are interested to travel to Java, Indonesia to help clear debris and sort for reusable building materials, can sign up in teams of eight to 10 people and commit either a full week of their time (Sunday to Saturday) or a weekend (Thursday to Sunday). For more information, please contact the Habitat for Humanity office in your country or email national@habitatindonesia.org