Earthquake-report.com is happy to give space to SEEDS, a non-profit group of young architects, urban planners, social scientists, project management specialists and media personnel, who leverage their collective strengths to respond swiftly and effectively to any disaster.
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Damage to Schools and Educational Buildings
As per the current information from our field team, school and educational buildings have suffered extensive damage. The Scheduled Caste Girls’ Hostel of Sikkim Government College, situated in Gairigaon, Tadong, has developed numerous cracks mostly on the second and third floor of the building. The Sikkim University boys’ hostel located near Smile Land, Marchak, which houses around 60 students, has also suffered severe damage. In West Sikkim, the ground floor of the Soreng Secondary School’s girls’ hostel has been completely damaged. Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok has developed numerous cracks, on the floor and almost all the walls of the ground floor. All the three school buildings of Katuk Vidhyasagar Primary School at Lingdum basti under Martam-Rumtek constituency have been declared unsafe. These are just a few examples for our preliminary reports.
Recovering Critical Lifeline structures
Vulnerability in Focus Following the 6.8 magnitude earthquake on September 18th, 2011, structures in Gangtok still stand live, but there are reports stating damages in parts of rural northern and eastern Sikkim that lie on the periphery of this urban capital. Sikkim is not only susceptible to earthquakes, but also landslides, which have proved to be detrimental in reaching out to save lives. The nature of damages occurred by earthquake is evidence of the inappropriate structural development in these areas. Despite the low population density, the risk and destruction was multiplied manifold by the failure of unengineered lifeline structures and adhoc development.
Our assessment shows that shelters are badly damaged and that public buildings, including schools and health centres, have been badly affected.
In the aftermath of the Himalayan earthquake on 18th September, 2011, SEEDS is planning early recovery programmes in the State of Sikkim. The plan will address the emerging need to restore and rebuild critical lifeline structures for education and health, as well as provide immediate shelter support in the affected areas in view of the winter onset.
The process has already begun with the augmentation of emergency assistance in the area. Damage assessments are being carried out to ensure appropriate transitional shelters and strategies to restore schools and health centres are being defined. The direct restoration interventions will be facilitated and carried out in partnership with local groups. This would also lead to a constructive exchange of knowledge to plan for a sustainable recovery process.
- A total of 100,000 structures are reported to have been affected out of which 2000 have collapsed completely.
- 5 villages near Mangan have suffered heavy damage.
- 23 school buildings are totally damaged and 192 partially damaged.
SEEDS is also planning to develop guidelines for a Shelter Restoration Strategy. These will be of paramount importance to field practitioners and the local government, helping implement risk reduction strategies for safer construction and thereby building resilience towards future risks.
Formulating a long-term recovery plan, linked to development SEEDS’ early recovery programme lays the foundation for long-term recovery and rehabilitation. Our long-term intervention plan will focus on the reconstruction of damaged houses in the affected areas. The construction will be guided by the shelter strategy using appropriate construction material and technologies.
To begin with, SEEDS will set up 10 demonstrative shelter models in the affected areas and construct 5 schools and 5 community buildings, including health centres.
However, Sikkim, located in an extremely high risk zone, needs broader advocacy to mitigate risks and reduce the loss of life and property. Therefore, knowledge enhancement will be at the core of the rehabilitation process. A mobile clinic will be set up which addresses the emerging training and capacity building needs of the masons and the community at large.
Documenting the Process
The entire process from early recovery to rehabilitation will be documented to create learning material for practitioners, academicians, government officials and communities.
SEEDS Commitment to the Humanitarian Cause:
SEEDS is committed to reaching out to the most needy and vulnerable in disaster affected areas, meeting immediate needs, minimising damage and restoring the lives of affected communities. SEEDS has been involved in responding to all the major disasters in India over the last fifteen years and has contributed towards ‘building back better’. These projects include:
• Leh Cloud Burst, Jammu & Kashmir, 2010
• Bihar Kosi Floods, Bihar, 2008
• Balasore Floods, Orissa, 2007
• Barmer Floods, Rajasthan, 2006
• Gujarat Earthquake, Gujarat, 2001
SEEDS Contact details
Further Information on Intervention:
Tel: +91-11-26498371 Fax: +91-11 26498372
www.seedsindia.org (you can also donate to the organization via this website)