Ecological homes are replacing those damaged in Oaxaca earthquake

Houses made with earth, lime, natural fibers and a minimum part of cement, are the new alternatives used by a company that supported the reconstruction of houses in the municipality of Asunción Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca, affected by the earthquake of September 7. 2017.

One of the beneficiaries of this initiative was Mrs. Teodula Toral and her son Humberto Ordaz Toral, whom the company Delher supported to rebuild their housing with the technique of “Super Adobe”, resistant to earthquakes and thermal.

“We were told by the people in charge of the company that they have more resistance than traditional houses, in addition, that they would be thermal, and it is true, it reduces the heat a lot now that it is unbearable. In addition, they told us that this design comes from homes made in Iran and that they are resistant to earthquakes,” Humberto said.

He said it was a “Blessing from God” this house, which, although his mother could not enjoy it, since she died last December, she has remained a legacy for him and an indelible memory of what happened on the night of September 7, 2017.

“When they offered it to my mother, she was very happy because we had no place to shelter from the rain, the heat and the tremors that followed, it was a great blessing because the company that provided this house did not charge us a penny in cash, or labor, or material, nothing at all … in return my mom could only offer them a cup of coffee or a glass of water, because that was the only thing she had,” he said.

This is how the Delher company started work with unique techniques, placing polyethylene sacks full of yellow sand, combined with five percent of cement, and reaffirmed with wires from barbs, creating an elongated block type that would function as walls.

Due to the type of elongated bags that were used, this house has an unusual appearance, that is why people now know it as “the house of the sausage”, its roof made with tile-like sheets covered with special material to avoid filtration and heat are also unique in the area.

This company, in addition to the house, gave this family an ecological bath, made with the same elements and in the form of igloo, its design draws the attention of those who pass through this place.

Another of the beneficiaries who received a house with ecological materials was Mr. Benito Chiñas Ordaz, who at 84 years of age reported, through his son Abel Chiñas, the moment of desolation that occurred the night the 8.2 earthquake occurred.

“It was quite strong, we were lying down, we got up, the lights went out, we did not have a place to run because the houses began to fall, all the people went out to the street, we knew that some neighbors died who could not leave, I felt bad when we saw the house collapsed,” he said.

He said it wasn’t until a day after they began to receive the support of the State Government with food and water, this due to the magnitude of the earthquake and the damage caused throughout the region.

Thus, once the emergency was over, the company Delher decided to support Don Benito Chiñas in the reconstruction of his house, using the Bioconcrete technique, using more than 20,000 coconut shells and bagasse, as well as clay from the area and a minimum amount of cement.

“It’s something new for us, it’s pure coconut bagasse, the wall has no partition, we saw that they put some angles that they brought to support the structure … they told us that it was special to withstand the earthquakes and, besides, that it would be very cool for the heat conditions we live here,” said Abel.

Don Benito expressed his happiness and gratitude because this Mexican company covered all the expenses in terms of materials, labor, and everything that was needed for its reconstruction.

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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