• DOST, private groups to design disaster-resistant houses

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    The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has partnered with private groups in a bid to draw up structural designs for construction of disaster-adoptive homes and school buildings in areas that are prone to natural calamities.

    In a partnership, the DOST, property developer Ortigas and Co., and Habitat for Humanity launched a nationwide competition dubbed “Build Forward,” that would stir architectural students into coming out with the best disaster-proof design.

    The aim is to develop a house and school building prototype that will stand the test of time and the elements for the resettlement of sites of Habitat for Humanity. Ortigas and Co. will lend its resources while the DOST will provide the technical guidance.

    The house and school should be designed to withstand 380-kilometers per hour wind gusts, and built in a month and a half. Each house unit should cost below P200,000, and must have two bedrooms, toilet and bath, kitchen, and living space in a36-square meter floor area.

    The first placer will get P100,000 cash prize, the second placer P50,000, and the third placer P30,000. Winners will likewise each receive a computer package.

    Habitat for Humanity will be using the winning design for the construction of houses in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

    It aims to build 30,000 core houses and distribute 30,000 shelter repair kits in the next three years.

    “This is a partnership where the government and private groups come together to find a lasting solution to problem brought by what is called as the new norm,” Science Secretary Mario Montejo said.

    “Typhoon Yolanda has been an eye opener. Now, we have to prepare for the next big thing, and the government is working for it,” he said.

    Montejo said that in determining how to build typhoon-resilient houses, experience with Yolanda should be factored in.

    “Public works has been analyzing bakit andaming nasirang bahay [why many houses were destroyed]. It could be the way [they were]designed or the way [they were]constructed,” he said.

    With Super Typhoon Yolanda in mind, he said that innovating a cost-effective design that could stand that kind of typhoon has to be done if only to mitigate its impact.

    Montejo, however, said that government preparations go beyond drawing up a cost-effect disaster-proof design of structures.

    “Now we are doing storm surge simulation in different areas for us to be able to give warnings for the next storm surge anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

    Montejo said they are also refining the weather advisories of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the weather bureau under the DOST, to prevent misinterpretations. Particularly, the advisories would issue location specific flooding forecast, including flood level.

    He added that the DOST is also developing a map that would show the disaster vulnerabilities of every community across the country, to help them design effective ways of preparing before a calamity hits them.

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