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Mindanao solon proposes disaster-proof houses

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Apr. 27 (PNA) — Davao City Congressman Karlo Alexei Nograles on Sunday urged the government to build communities that are disaster-resilient by constructing houses that are not only strong against extreme weather conditions but are modular and highly portable.

Nograles said the technology is readily available and is now being piloted in the town of Tanauan in Northern Leyte through Veerhuis Bowsystemen B.V., a Dutch firm which developed state-of-the-art proprietary technology for the manufacture of steel framed, permanent and prefabricated housing.

The company also makes durable steel-framed tents to serve as temporary shelters for those displaced by natural disasters.

The Mindanao solon said that just recently, he and Veerhuis Bowsystemen B.V. Representative Bernhard Hildesheim turned over 17 steel-framed tents and 1 permanent housing unit costing P6.112 Million for some of the displaced families in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Tanauan, Leyte and he saw its potential in the government’s ongoing rehabilitation effort in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan).

He said that the Veerhuis Bowsystemen B.V. steel-framedhousing units can be used in the government’s relocation program for the tens of thousands of families in Eastern Visayas who were displaced by typhoon Yolanda.

“I think that if we use their technology, we can build houses more rapidly with the least amount of money, and without sacrificing quality. We need to start building communities that are disaster-resilient, and I believe modular but sturdy housing unit is the best way to go,” Nograles said.

For his part, Hildesheim said that Veerhuis Bowsystemen B.V. has been involved in various reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in other countries that had their share of man-made and natural disasters, such as Haiti which was devastated by a massive earthquake.

“When I heard of the epic destruction caused by Yolanda, I realized that the products produced by my company could help at least some residents by accelerating their journey on the path to recovery,” Hildesheim said.

“This donation might also represent an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of our technology, the use of which allows us to construct a house within three days,” he added.

The Veerhuis process relies on the construction of small, in site factories, operated entirely by community residents, to produce “housing kits,” which are then assembled on individual plots. The houses are anchored by steel cables to concrete platforms and can withstand, without damage, up to Category II typhoons.

“Our approach relies solely on community-based labor. The operation and output of a single factory can generate up to 1,300 full-time jobs, including those responsible for manufacturing the housing kits and those who erect the houses from the kits," Hildesheim said. (PNA)

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