We all know each rainy season is always accompanied with incidences of flooding and flooding disasters. With Each year flooding has become more intense and severe claiming more casualties and destruction, and this can be largely attributed to the effects of climate change. The government recently mapped out flood prone areas in the country and gave directives and warnings. Mapping out and issuing warnings is usually not enough to prevent loss of property and displacement of thousands of people.
Granted, there are efforts to curb flooding through construction of dykes and dams, community education and awareness and most of these already have positive outcomes. More can be done in terms of constructing flood resistant houses.
In Bangladesh, just like Kenya, most of the affected by flooding are in the rural areas and cannot afford to build concrete houses. Action Aid, an international NGO helped the local people to build flood-resistant low cost housing. The base of the houses are raised and made of sand, clay and cement. This makes them strong and can also resist the flood waters.
The house frame is made of treated bamboo poles which can withstand years of annual flooding and the frame is further reinforced with concrete footing. The roofing is of light weight corrugated iron sheets and just under the roof at the top of the house, is a small attic which is easily accessible and used for shelter during the flooding.
The frame, roof and platform are permanent parts of the house. However, the walls are jute panels made of woven bamboo, which by the way are cheap and easy to make and are also removable and replaceable. During severe floods, the walls can be completely removed, rolled up and stored till the flooding has subsided, in which they are safe to return.
The organization has built 24 houses in 3 villages and so far they are a success. They are very affordable and have long-term validity, up to approximately 40 years. This technology can be practiced in Kenya too, all the materials needed are readily available and it is a much more effective way of dealing with the floods.
Apart from the housing, flood resistant crops, which among others include bamboo and bananas, can be planted around homes or in flood prone areas. This also prevents erosion which normally accompanies flooding.