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Destroyed in Two Minutes - A Fishing Community

Many of the families in the fishing community of San Andres in Peru were torn apart when the 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck. Countless homes and buildings were turned to rubble due to poor building methods.


Many of the construction workers in the San Andres area are entirely unfamiliar with earthquake safe building methods. Universities in Lima and Cusco have been volunteering their students, teachers, and resources to help educate the workers about these new methods. A volunteer with a background in earthquake-resistant construction methods traveled to the area with a travel grant from C.A.R.E. Much of her time was spent researching earthquake safe methods of adobe brick construction. She met with the head of the structures laboratory at the Catholic University of Lima who provided her with a wealth of knowledge in constructing earthquake-safe adobe dwellings.


She gave a presentation of earthquake-safe adobe construction as a guest speaker to construction workers. She explained the various methods of reinforcing the building and discussed everything from choosing an area for building to completing the roof and waterproofing the exterior. The men were very grateful to receive the information and the professor of the course was pleased with the success of the seminar and indicated they will continue as long as there is a demand and people continue to come out to receive instruction.

When the volunteer wasn't researching or working with the children in the area, she spent volunteer time in the city of Pisco, a 10-minute drive from San Andres, with a group providing tools and manual labour for a variety of reconstruction projects. Pisco suffered extensive earthquake damage and most of the city still lay in ruins so the reconstruction focused on projects involving reconstruction of several schools, homes and sanitation modules. These sanitation modules containing a toilet, sink and shower are built with reinforced concrete to withstand earthquake damage. In the event of another earthquake, these units are built to support large communities at least for the first year. At the end of the year, the family who provided the land for the module can complete the construction of their home around the module.

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