This week we launched our new Housing Retrofit program with the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO). For the next six weeks our Retrofit Team of 32 carpenters will be going door-to-door in seven Barangays assisting families to storm-strengthen their homes, strengthening their structures with hurricane strapping, gussets, timber cleats, cross bracing in the roofs and walls, adding additional roofing nails to secure galvanized iron roofs, reinforcing joints and reinforcing foundations.
According to the Shelter Cluster, out of 25,000 families who lost their homes on Bantayan Island, over 16,000 families have not received any sort of shelter support, and thousands of hours have been provided with partial and incomplete donations of materials. Many of these families have worked long and hard to rebuild their homes on their own, often without the support of a professional carpenter. As a result, most of the houses that have been rebuilt on Bantayan Island are unsafe, almost guaranteed to fail in another storm.
This week all of carpenters who participate in Retrofit Program attended YPDR’s Carpenter Skill Upgrade Training. This training focuses on teaching the principles of strong building techniques by using props and activities to demonstrate in a hands-on manner how these ‘best practices’ improve a structure’s strength. Trainees experienced first hand, using these props, what happens to an unbraced wall, joints that are not tied down, and poor nailing patterns. Following classroom instruction, the Retrofit Teams spent a half-day doing site visits in the field and working with real world retrofitting examples to understand how best to strengthen houses that have been poorly constructed.
A skilled carpenter, such as those on our team, is able to retrofit a home in as little as a few hours by focusing on key principles of typhoon and hurricane resistant housing such as ensuring cross-bracing throughout the house, ensuring the house is ‘tied-down’ from roof to the foundations, and making sure that roofing materials are securely attached and reinforced.
Our motivated Retrofit Teams rolled out on Tuesday in teams of two to help the families in their own communities. Our goal is simple: strengthen as many houses as possible before the next Typhoon.