Our open air meeting, with residents in one of the coastal areas worst hit by the 2001 earthquake, and with other communities around this small, and poor country, was organised by the Fundasal. This is a nearly 40 year old Salvadoran NGO that has developed a track record working with low income people, so successfully that in 2004 won the World Habitat Award for its post 2001 earthquake recovery work.
Most Salvadorians are poor, but they are resourceful and ‘informal’ self build provides much of their housing. Investment in the infrastructure and dwellings can be low, hardly surprising when occupiers may lack title to the land as well as resources. Even in the best of times homes like this do not have a great life expectancy, here in El Salvador nature provides some worse times. The dilemma of Fundasal, and many similar organisations round the world, is how to encourage people with few resources to reduce future risks. Apart from the question of money people need to understand what needs to be done and why. (more)
Examples of the guides developed by Fundasal for earthquake-resistant housing are available at this link.