Monday, April 12, 2010

Eco friendly rebuilt for Cuba's disaster-hit homes

Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Cuban coastal town of Los Palacios in August, 2008, a dangerous category 4 storm.

It damaged 84 percent of the homes, many of them made of wood. Ten days later, Hurricane Ike tore across much of Cuba, dumping torrential rains on Los Palacios. And then in November, Paloma struck the island. The government put the combined damage at $10 billion. Now, a unique program helps victims re-build their lives and their homes. New houses have gone up all along the hurricane corridor in the western province of Pinar del Rio. Many of them are made entirely or partly of "eco-materials", local resources turned into construction materials at a low cost and all done in the community, which saves on their carbon footprint by transportation. After hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, CIDEM moves in quickly to set up mini-factories using its own low-tech machinery. In Los Palacios, CIDEM set up a mini-factory last year.

Five workers operate a simple contraption that uses vibrations to turn out blocks made from local gravel, sand and cement (sweet). The machine has the capacity to produce 1,200 blocks a day, that is equivalent to a house. In Cuba, the government works closely with CIDEM. They provide professionals to oversee the work and they guarantee hurricane victims paid leave from their jobs in order to rebuild houses. CIDEM has set up workshops in 18 countries in Latin America, five in Africa and most recently in Asia, with funding primarily from Switzerland and Canada.

The environment impact is about saving energy as little or no transportation is required to rebuild these houses, plus they recycle old materials :) Recycling is the way to go people!!!!!

Tip of the day: PLEASE SWITCH OFF you computer or laptop when you are done with it instead of leaving it idle or on sleep mode. You'll save lots of electricity and give your computer a rest too :) Peace.

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