Engage Uganda earthquake victims on proper house reconstruction
By Paul Zaake
Following the September 10 earthquake, the government, through the Office of the Prime Minister, dispatched 6,440kgs of maize flour, 3,220 kg of beans, 644 tarpaulins and a consignment of blankets to affected areas in Rakai. It is estimated that the 5.7 magnitude earthquake destroyed more than 500 houses in Kakuuto County in Rakai District and another 3,186 houses developed cracks.
Despite the circumstances, the victims rejected the maize flour and beans and emphasized that the earthquake did not destroy crops but houses which need to be reconstructed.
There is a need to shift away from donor-driven, one-size-fits-all model for housing reconstruction. This conventional response of relief agencies focuses on short-term solutions, which leads to fewer resources for permanent housing. While donor-driven models can and do build safe houses, they miss the opportunity to build local capacity, and in many cases the houses built after the funding and technical assistance cease are not built to those same safe standards.