The San Francisco nonprofit Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is raising money to send a team of architects and designers to survey the damage wreaked by Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
I was struck by these photos of the flooding on the Boston Globe's always-excellent website, The Big Picture.
It's been a brutal week in the region--two major earthquakes and Ketsana have rattled Southeast Asia. Hundreds are dead, millions displaced, and the damage to infrastructure in the area is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The government of the Philippines has declared a "state of calamity," and another more powerful typhoon is expected to make landfall there tomorrow.
Barb Alvarado, AFH's associate development director, said in a phone interview that the organization has a long-term view of redevelopment, waiting until after media attention and disaster relief organizations have gone home before beginning reconstruction.
"We focus on community infrastructure, like schools and clinics. We try to do the most good for the least amount of money," Alvarado says. She points out that rebuilding a school has an added benefit in addition to the obvious one--it gives parents a place to leave their children while the adults rebuild their homes.
Among AFH's completed projects are the seven homes the group constructed in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, and the community centers it built in India and Sri Lanka after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.