20 January 2012

Safer construction through incremental improvements, by Bill Flinn, Cendep and Oxford Brookes University

This presentation focuses not on the needs of populations who have shelters provided for them by humanitarian organizations, but rather on the great majority of the affected who are not helped and have to rebuild on their own.
At the core of his presentation was a call for less building and more facilitation. The presenter maintains that the humanitarian sector (and those partnering with them) can do this through small but significant improvements to help people build better, before and after disaster. One example given is that of hurricane strapping. The case of roof retrofitting in Cuba is given as one way this concept could work in practice.
Another example given is reinforced concrete; which is the single most building method responsible for people being killed in disaster. Better design of concrete structures could prevent many damages and loss of life. Cases from Pakistan and Bangladesh are given as examples. The challenge given to all of us is to implement small interventions that could make a big difference.

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