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Mercy Malaysia to provide earthquake-proof houses

Wednesday February 23, 2005

Mercy Malaysia to provide earthquake-proof houses

BY SHAHANAAZ HABIB

BANDA ACEH: Tsunami survivors in at least two villages in Aceh can look forward to new earthquake-proof homes –thanks to Mercy Malaysia. 

Mercy president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood said the organisation would work with Kyoto University and Nepal’s Society for Earthquake Technology to make seismic resistant homes in the earthquake-prone province of Aceh. 

They will be for refugees from Kampong Weu Raya and Sebun Ayu in Lhok Nga. 

The two-bedroom house is designed by architect Nor Azam Abu Samah, a Mercy exco member.  

He was one of the first to arrive in the province after the Dec 26 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, which killed about 200,000 people in Aceh. 

Dr Jemilah hands over the stoves to tsunami survivors at the Lhok Nga camp in Banda Aceh.
Dr Jemilah said the house would be prefabricated in Malaysia because it cost RM7,000 each to be produced there compared with US$4,000 (RM15,200) in Aceh.  

She planned to bring the Japanese team from Kyoto to Malaysia soon. 

”They will retro-fit the house to make it seismic resistant. When you retro-fit a house, you put in things in certain parts of the house that can slide with each other so that in an earthquake, they will slide but won't fall,” she said in a recent interview here.  

The Mercy house, which comes in pieces of 1.2m by 1.8m, would be transported by plane.  

“One house is in one plastic bag. It’s so exciting,” said Dr Jemilah, adding that they were training some refugees in the Mercy camp in Lhok Nga to set up the prefabricated houses. 

She said Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Dr Alwi Shihab “was so impressed with the design that they allocated three pieces of land for us to build 250 houses in Sebun Ayu.” 

The Mercy camp, which is a temporary abode for tsunami survivors from Kampong Weu Raya, houses about 500 people from 192 families from that village in tents measuring 3.6m by 3.6m. They obtained mineral water from the two wells which they dug.  

“It’s a gift from God,” said Dr Jemilah. The temporary refugee camp has toilets with septic tanks, bathrooms and washing area, and electricity supply.  

“The refugees bathe and wash clothes with the mineral water from the well,” said Azam. 

“That’s their rezeki (advantage).” 

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