The Pakistan floods of 2022 were unprecedented in their magnitude, and wreaked havoc in Sindh and Balochistan provinces in Pakistan’s south. More than 1,700 people died, with 33 million affected and more than 8 million displaced. Nearly 900,000 homes were razed.

Lari, Pakista’s first woman architect, designed the bamboo homes in 2005 after an earthquake devastated Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Distribution of the house model was expanded to flood-hit areas of Sindh province, southeastern Pakistan, in 2011, where the foundation built at least 1,000 of the houses in Khairpur and Tando Allahyar districts as part of her housing programme she dubbed “green shelters for all”. Her work in humanitarian architecture led Lari to be awarded this year’s Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Lari’s housing model is based on the concepts of self-building using locally sourced materials and through teaching the community house-building skills. These allow the community to actively participate in building disaster-resilient homes and keep – and spread – the skills within the local community, rather than rely on outside help. To encourage self-reliance, HFP focuses on supplying skill and materials rather than financial aid. “The moment you start giving people a handout, that is the end of their own dignity,” Lari says. Disaster victims “are displaced, not handicapped; teach them the skills and they’ll do amazing things.”

But to ensure total self-sufficiency, Lari believes aid should extend beyond the house and into daily existence. “There are millions in my province alone who are without any water,” Lari says. “But you give them a house, and what about other things? How are they going to survive?” To that end, HFP also provides solar panels and hand pumps to communities, both of which are paid for by the foundation, which is funded by donors and sponsors.

The foundation has also made available online in-depth tutorials on building the house. As a result, Lari’s designs have been used by other NGOs such as Madat Balochistan, a community-led organisation in the mountainous southwestern province it is named for.

Maryam Jamali, co-founder of Madat Balochistan, tells The Third Pole that her organisation has built between 250 and 300 of the houses in the five months after the floods, largely in the Gandhaka area of Jaffarabad, a district in the province’s southeast which was badly hit by the floods.

Construction of the houses has generated employment, Jamali says, as typically, local carpenters produce the panels, and skilled labourers provide advice on structural integrity and assemble them with the homeowner.

Read the full article about flood resilient housing by Somaiyah Hafeez at Eco-Business.