On January 26th, 2001, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake devastated the state of Gujarat causing extensive damage to life and property. Over 13,881 lives were lost, 300,000 buildings collapsed and twice that number were damaged.
How we helped
At the time the region was already suffering from drought conditions and the aftermath of 2 cyclones in 3 years. 220 out of 276 houses in the village of Patanka were completely destroyed by the earthquake and the rest were severely damaged. The damage to building stock in the region revealed the lack of adequately trained masons in the traditional technology.
SEEDS responded to the tragedy immediately with relief and permanent shelter initiatives. 250 permanent shelters were built and 10 houses were retrofitted by SEEDS at Patanka in the days following the earthquake.
The affected community was keenly involved in the design process. This helped to create a sense of ownership. Each household was free to develop its own design. They provided most of the material and paid for the skilled labour. They also served as the unskilled labour and played a central role in all stages of the process. The entire socio-cultural attributes of the community were preserved; with the village redeveloped along its original organic pattern.
Innovations were made in the materials and structural elements of the buildings. “Stonecrete”, consisting of stones embedded in concrete, were used for the walls. This resulted in strong and thinner walls and lower cost of construction.
Seismic safety was introduced through reinforced concrete bands at various levels and corner reinforcements.
Leaving a mark
Conducted in partnership with several other organisations, this initiative has been recognised as an international best practice in post-disaster recovery.
Another of the programme’s greatest achievements was the formation of the SEEDS Mason Association (SMA) – a group of construction workers trained during this process who would subsequently assist SEEDS in several of its other projects across India.
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