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Architecture charity in earthquake relief effort

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International charity Architecture for Humanity (AfH) has launched a new competition in a bid to aid the earthquake relief effort in Kashmir.

The charity, run by British architect Cameron Sinclair, is calling for suggested designs - in the form of pictorial diagrams - of innovative earthquake-resistant housing.

The organisation will use the best in a manual that will 'help empower communities in the long-term reconstruction effort'.

In October the earthquake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale, rocked the Kashmir region of Pakistan. The death toll stands at over 87,000, with another 80,000 injured. An estimated 3.3 million have lost their homes.

A criteria and brief for the competition, inspired by the work of Fred Cuny after the 1976 Guatemala earthquake, was developed by Arup engineers alongside a number of regionally based architects, engineers and government officials.

'The real need is not only in relief and recovery, but the transitional and long-term shelter needs of those displaced - shelter that must be earthquake-resistant for the future,' an AfH spokesman said.

'Many more will die due to inadequate protection in the coming months and a second tragedy is unfolding. The international reconstruction, engineering and design community needs to respond.'

There is no cost to enter the competition and it is open for anyone. Schemes are due by 20 January 2006. For further information, visit www.architectureforhumanity.org

by Ed Dorrell

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