Structure Serves as Living Space, Classroom, Emergency Command Center

By Martin Román, Chief of Party

ACDI/VOCA implements the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance-funded Disaster Risk Reduction in San Pedro project. In eastern Paraguay where the project operates, there are over 800 rivers and waterways affected each year by severe flooding, recently exacerbated by El Niño. This 12-month project increases inhabitants’ ability to prepare for and adapt to the flooding.

Last month, the project donated a Multifunctional Floating Structure (MFS), which it designed and built in collaboration with local architectural association Aqua Alta, to San Pedro’s Departmental Council for Risk Management and Reduction (DCRMR). The project designed the MFS in consultation with the residents of the riverside communities to address problems they experience during floods.

The 90-square meter MFS uses the rivers as a transportation network to bring solutions to otherwise inaccessible communities. The MFS has a bathroom with dirty water treatment, a water purifier for human consumption, a kitchen and dining room, an energy system with solar panels, a refrigerator, a fire detection system, and fire extinguishers. It is completely modular, which facilitates its transportation from one point to another through the water or by road. It can be assembled easily and has the capacity to support up to 60 people at the same time. Furniture can be assembled to provide beds for up to 24 people.

Cesar Sanchez, general coordinator of San Pedro’s DCRMR, commented that, “In the department we have six communities that cannot be accessed by land. This structure will be strategically located to benefit them by providing medical assistance, using it for training, as a classroom, or an emergency operations center. The most vulnerable sector that includes 260 families will benefit in cases of flood with fast evacuation, accessing a provisional shelter with basic services.”



The MFS inauguration event was attended by San Pedro de Ycuamandiyu Mayor Gustavo Rodriguez, Puerto Antequera Mayor Abel Britez, DCRMR’s Cesar Sanchez, OFDA’s Regional Advisor Sarah McNiece, municipal councilors, departmental secretaries, representatives of district councils for risk management reduction, and community members. The event and the MFS have received robust media coverage, including:
· “Construyen casas flotantes en Puerto Antequera,” [Floating Houses Are Built in Puerto Antequera], Abc Cardinal, November 25, 2016. (radio interview in Spanish with architect)
· “Construyen primeras viviendas flotantes,” [First Floating Houses Are Built], Abc Color, 12/2/2016.
· “Construyen casa flotante para casos de desastres,” [Floating House Built for Disasters], La Nación, 11/30/2106.
· “Casas flotantes para las crecidas de agua,” [Floating Houses for Rising Water], Crónica, 11/30/2016.
· “Construyen casas flotantes para familias inundadas,” [Floating Houses Are Built for Flooded Families], Última Hora, 12/4/2016.
· “Entregan casa multifuncional flotante en San Pedro,” [Multifunctional Floating House Is Delivered in San Pedro], La Nación, 12/7/2016.