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20130321(8).jpgIn mid-March, with the temperature rising day by day, Habitat Japan finalized a project of emergency repair work on 30 homes in Phitsanulok province affected by the 2011 floods (see photo, right: a home under repair).
Before construction, specialist staff checked each damaged house to implement all necessary repairs. Considering the scale of the damage, the staff examined the foundations, floors, walls, kitchen, toilet, staircases and other key locations while also consulting with the homeowners directly.
Unlike other areas where flood waters quickly pass through, in the bowl-shaped Phitsanulok province, waters tend to remain and stagnate. The metal sheeting used to protect the foundation pillars under the raised floors can then weaken and disintegrate over time, resulting in widespread damage to houses. In the dry season, the holes and cracks created by this process allow large amounts of dirt and sand to blow into the houses from unpaved roads; in the rainy season, rainwater easily cover the floors and risk the health of the families. When floods come, pythons, cobras, scorpions, centipedes and other dangerous creatures frequently gain entry to the homes. Furthermore, strong winds bend and shake the weakened houses and some homeowners, in fact, said that they had been so much worried about their fragile houses collapsing with the wind.
As for this build project, the goal wasn't to simply replace these damaged parts, but to make the original houses stronger. By using concrete pillars, light and strong smart board (light cement board) and concrete blocks, the project greatly increased the strength and security of the houses against water and other problems. In addition, having heard numerous reports of the ground level toilets becoming unusable in the annual flood season, Habitat Japan raised the toilets above the ground level; added lockable doors and windows to the houses with the damaged metal walls replaced, leading to an overall increase in safety and security for the future.  
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(Above) pre-construction, (Below) post-construction
One of the homeowners, Mr Boongsong, said (with a smile on his face), "in the past, the dust and heat would come through holes in the wall, making it difficult to breath and threatening the health of my family. Also, as we live so far from the nearest police station, having no door or windows and large holes in the walls meant it was too open to sleep soundly at night. But now that we have strong walls and a lockable door, we no longer have to worry about thieves; with the new windows allowing the breeze through, it has become really comfortable. Thanks to these changes, my family can really relax in their own home and I feel it has brought us closer together too".
◆Related Articles / Reports
2013.01.17 In Hope of Flood-Resistant House
2012.12.31 Selection of Home Partners Started
2012.11.01 New House Repair Project for the Flood Survivors