It Started with a Talkshow

Mr. Azril works at TVRI West Sumatra. The land near where he lives in Kurao Pagang was split open during the September 30th earthquake. About 75% of Mr Azril’s family’s home was totally destroyed, and one of his three young children is still suffering from depression and trauma at this time.

With nowhere else to stay, the family has been forced to rent a very modest house not far from their original home. 
Much of the simple brick housing in the Kurao Pagang was built in the early 1980s, using regular construction methods and standard building materials. 

When the earthquake happened, many of the buildings in the areas including several multi-leveled ones collapsed. “I really thank God that our family survived,” he recounted. 

Mr. Azril wished to try and repair his house as soon as possible. His family needed somewhere to live and he was worried about using up all of his savings on renting their temporary home. As a civil servant with two children in primary school and one high school aged child, his savings were indeed limited. 

After he helped with the production of one of the ‘Rumah Aman Gempa’ talk shows where Dr. Fauzan from the UNAND Construction Clinic explained some of the principles of earthquake safe construction, Mr Azril became very inspired to learn more. “I went to the Construction Clinic and asked for advise about the construction of our house. We received some books from them about earthquake safe construction.“ 

Mr. Azril and his wife studied the manual provided and watched the ‘Rumah Aman Gempa’ movie. They became totally convinced that building an earthquake safe house was the right choice. “We were very relived to learn about this technology that could help protect our family, even though our fate is of course in Gods hands,” he said. 

For the reconstruction of his house, Mr. Azril decided to hire construction workers from his original home village. “In the village, it is easier for me to communicate about what it is that we want, and also the family connections that we have with the local workers makes it easier to negotiate doing something new.” 

Now that they understand the principles of earthquake safe construction, Mr. Azril and his wife are able to directly supervise the construction process. “We knocked down a few walls and made modifications to several areas of the house. We also deepened and reinforced the foundation and added 10 and 8mm steel for the columns, and included braces to attach them and the new walls,” he explained. We followed the recommended standards for mortar mixing and soaked our bricks before using them. It sure took them a long time to soak,” he recalled.

“One day our builders even showed some Japanese people from the Construction Clinic how we had learned to install the brickwork.” 

According to Mr. Azril and his wife, the information that they had gotten on earthquake safe construction was very helpful in planning the rehabilitation of their home. “Even though the cost is of course a big challenge for us, being able to build a home that we believe is safer really put my family’s mind at ease” explained Mr. Azril. “Unfortunately though, many of the other people in our area are not following these earthquake safe building principles. If we use this construction, while our neighbors don’t, if another big earthquake happens our house could be damaged by surrounding buildings,” he said. “We really very much hope that more information outreach and especially regulations about earthquake safe housing can happen.”