Friday, 20 August 2010

After recent floods award-winner GERES is working on reconstruction in Ladakh, India

After the recent devastating flash floods in Ladakh, India, past award winners GERES are working hard to begin reconstruction in the region.

See a recent news release from the association:

“The GERES teams, based in Leh in Ladakh, in the Indian Himalayas, have escaped unscathed from the violent floods that hit the region on the night of August 5. However, we regret the disappearance of three relatives of our local accountant, whose house was swept away by the flood. The association wishes to express its deep sorrow and convey its unwavering support to their families.

For over twenty years, GERES has been working in Ladakh and in the valleys of Zanskar, Kargil, Lahaul and Spiti. In partnership with local NGOs and the Indian government we work together in the field of social and economic development and environmental protection. A pioneer in the implementation of passive solar architecture in the Himalayas, GERES has to its credit a number of technical, social and environmental achievements. A major programme underway (Passive Solar House) includes the introduction of energy efficiency technologies in the construction or rehabilitation of 1,000 domestic and community buildings. These new structures play a key role in local populations. They promote the improvement of living conditions, economic activity and crafts.

It appears that the buildings of our project have withstood the floods well, but this is not the case of neighbouring recent facilities that were built too quickly, despite the rules of town planning. Half of the homes located in Choglamsar, a downstream suburb of Leh, have been destroyed. Although a direct link cannot be currently made, it is feared that the floods will worsen in future years due to climate change. In one area, normally totally spared by the monsoon, this has been the second episode of serious flooding since 2006.

GERES is already getting ready for reconstruction within the area. Last week GERES participated in a meeting with local government, international and local NGOs to develop a strategy to define the areas in which buildings, both temporary and permanent, should be constructed, according to the context, the level of damage, and the availability and cost of land. GERES has been appointed as a local expert coordinator for reconstruction and will participate in planning workshops to share its technical expertise. The "Passive Solar House" programme, will also be resumed as soon as the lines of communication are restored.

If you wish to support GERES in this reconstruction phase, send a gift to: GERES, 2 cours Foch, 13400 Aubagne with mention "GERES India" on the back of the cheque.”

For more information on the work of GERES visit our website.

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