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EMERGENCY ARCHITECTS 

Emergency Architects Australia is a not for profit, non-sectarian, professional organisation with registered charity status. It is affiliated with partner organisations in France and Canada. Emergency Architects Australia exists to mobilise construction professionals to assist those in need due to natural disaster, climate change or armed conflict. Our focus is building capacity and skills to rebuild in a way that mitigates risks from future disasters.

EAA’S vision is that built environment expertise is available to devastated communities in South East Asia and the Pacific to help reduce avoidable risks from disasters, and to assist communities with appropriate and sustainable strategies for each phase of reconstruction and ongoing development following natural or man-made disasters.

EAA sends experienced architects and other built environment specialists into the field with the aim of working alongside governments, agencies and communities to rebuild in a sustainable way. EAA’s process emphasises early construction of permanent rather than temporary structures, use of local materials and skills, building capacity at all levels in the process, but most importantly at the community level, giving women and others a voice and the tools to rebuild their lives.

EAA believes that architects and other built environment professionals can help communities mitigate against disaster through planning and design, and sensitively managing the process of rebuilding. 

ACTION 1 - EMERGENCY

Cartographic evaluation: UNOSAT GPS technologies.

Facilitate ethical partnerships between EA, local communities, local
governments and aid organisations. Work with other aid organisations in the immediate distribution and construction of shelter relief such as tents and ensure correct layout according to sphere and the terrain.

Field work evaluation of population needs and building assessment.

To assess and secure damaged buildings and infrastructure.
To disseminate our knowledge by providing immediate assistance and training to the local population and other aid agencies to assess and classify damaged buildings.

To immediately identify local building techniques, conditions and materials, in order to assemble and distribute appropriate tool kits, while conducting workshops concurrently to demonstrate immediate measures the local population can take to secure and repair their own buildings where possible.

To assess the environmental damage and future consequences, and propose immediate actions to prevent further damage both in the immediate disaster phase and the post disaster reconstruction phase.

To determine what measures can be taken to salvage disaster debris into recyclable materials able to be used for immediate long term shelter reconstruction.
To supervise clean up processes utilising the best environmental practices.

Temporary Shelter Stage:
To work with and utilise the knowledge of the local authorities and architectural profession to commence work on the identification and needs of displaced persons.

To use our professional expertise to facilitate the resolution of temporary shelter needs in conjunction with feasible long term reconstruction programs.

ACTION 2 - LONG TERM RECONSTRUCTION

Two stage program:
Help to rebuild sustainable and decent housing and restore basic economic and education infrastructure. Re-house displaced populations.

Risk prevention:
Analyse relevant environmental, urban, technological and architectural factors with regards to rebuilding safely.

Capacity building:
Preserve traditional know-how while improving them so that they are resistant to future disasters. Promote the training of locals from masons to architects.

Use local materials and start appropriate material supply where possible for future sustainability.

Assist in the establishment of subsidiary businesses essential to the reconstruction process e.g. timber processing, brick factories, joinery, community gardens, plantation tree farming.
To introduce the notion of plantation tree management, with its two fold benefit of securing unstable slopes and giving the population an ongoing life skill, building resources, and long term income. This also stabilised landslide areas in future disasters.

The practice

Examples of how Emergency Architects works are set out in the Annual Report and Capability Statement. Broadly EAA’s approach is to:

-        Provide an immediate assessment after a disaster to determine nature of damage and a report by experienced architects and engineers on the most effective strategies for repair, rebuild or possibly relocate is prepared.

-        Partner with interested NGO or Government Agency and agree on the scale and nature of the assistance.

-        Negotiate and formally agree the nature and extent of work to be carried out with local officials, building professionals and communities.

-        Prepare and estimate the cost to rebuild and logistic strategies in concert with partners and stakeholders.

-        Arrange for the deployment of the “in-country” team.  This might include local and Australian professionals and builders who would seek to engage the affected community to contribute their labour. Skilled volunteers on a project are paid a modest stipend.  This and their travel, insurance and living expenses are treated as project costs.

-        Organize local workforce.  Skills transfer to the local population is the most important outcome of the design and construction processes used.

-        Build development capacity in communities who need construction assistance, incorporating principles of risk minimization.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES  OF EMERGENCY ARCHITECTS

The following principles guide EAA Directors, staff and volunteers, who agree to:

      Assist in the assessment, planning, design and rebuilding in a manner that is environmentally and socially sustainable.

-       Disaster Risk Reduction- including mitigation measures to limit the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters, building resilience in communities so they have the capacity to cope and recover if a disaster strikes, and increasing communies skills so that adaptation for potential climate change impacts can take place. We share skills where these can improve the sustainability and health of the community.

-       Provide technical advice that will in future reduce avoidable risks from natural disasters.

-       Respect the values and needs of the communities in which we work.

-       Deliver services without discrimination based on gender, race, religion or politics.

-       Respect human rights, emphasizing the rights and protection of childrenR.

-       Work closely with communities to ensure suitability and ownership of the process and its results.

-       Design the work to ensure capacity building for beneficiaries and achieve long term sustainable outcomes

-       Be accountable to members of the community for all activities.

-       Be accountable to donors and the public for all expenditures and activity.

-       Provide professional and well researched advice.

-       Ensure that affordable expertise is transferred to the communities in which assistance is being provided.

-       Support local institutions, industries, professional organisations and governments where possible.

-       Advocate on behalf of disaster victims.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD OUR CAPACITY STATEMENT

© Emergency Architects Australia 2010. All Rights Reserved.