On 27th February 2010 an earthquake reaching 8.8 on the Richter scale hit Chile, killing 521 people and devastating much of Santiago and the town of Maule.
In the towns and countryside of Chile much of the residential property consisted of centuries old, single storey adobe dwellings – which offered little resistance to the effects of the earthquake. Most of these buildings suffered extensive damage with little hope of affordable repair and little scope to improve their resistance against future natural disasters. A significant proportion of these residential buildings suffered complete collapse. These areas were also predominately home to the poorest communities.
Our work was focused on the area of Cauquenes, the centre of a relatively poor agricultural and coastal area, providing emergency shelter and improving water supply and sanitation for those most affected by the earthquake.
After the earthquake, the government delivered prefabricated timber kit temporary houses to affected areas. However, these required technical guidance to erect swiftly and safely. The kits also lacked important environmental measures such as insulation, which greatly compromised the comfort of the occupants.
Article 25’s technical staff helped in the delivery and improvement of the shelters, enabling the provision of safer, more durable and more sustainable homes.