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Vaccinate your home

Family with its strengthened house in Thua Thien Hué province

Over the past 20 years more than 70% of housing stock in Viet Nam has been replaced, and this process has become  monetarised as families have to buy materials. As even poor families spend more on building their homes – whereas 20 years ago much was still gathered for free – the Vietnamese face increased risk of not only losing their new but still insufficiently storm resistant homes but as well risk losing the human and financial investment they have made in achieving it.

A way out? Preventive strengthening of the existing home is an economic and easy way to overcome this risk of loss: “Vaccinate your house” against the risk of storm damage, and your home and investment are safe from ‘disaster infection’.

Preventive strengthening of existing houses is much cheaper than rebuilding when a house has been damaged by flood or storms, and it has been proven viable and accessible by hundreds of families in Central Viet Nam with support from DW.

Compare preventive strengthening to the alternative of rebuilding. Whether aided by the state and donor agencies or not, reconstruction and rehabilitation after a disaster is expensive. For the majority of families in rural Thua Thien Hué, the average value of a 35m² house is between 2500 and 3000 US$ and this sum quite accurately represents the cost of rebuilding and the potential risk level of loss.

Preventive strengthening is based on a simple list of ten key points to make a building more storm resistant.

For a typical house in Thua Thien Hué and  in neighbouring provinces –spending between 15% and 30% more on the house makes it secure in all but the worst typhoons.

About 70% of houses in the region need strengthening. Only the strengthening of the very weakest houses may not be possible, as it is more economical to build a new house.