Many rains pass, amphibious house stays afloat

Munroe Thuruthu family finds a safe abode

While waterlogging and floods are becoming more frequent in Munroe Thuruthu, an amphibious house built on an experimental basis has remained safe even after two years. And for Gopinathan and his wife, Jagadamma, residents of Sreerekha Bhavan, it is the end of a 36-year-old ordeal.

The family has finally found a safe abode and they are no more worried about atmospheric salinity and humidity of the island corroding the structure. A concept put forward by present Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal, the project was taken up and successfully completed by the Architects Association. Many areas in the island are facing the threat of submergence, making normal construction methods impossible. An Assembly committee that studied the environmental issues of Munroe Thuruth had recommended eco-friendly methods of construction and the grama panchayat too had come up with a draft masterplan to mitigate the challenges.

Eco-friendly style

The highlight of the house is its unique construction method that helps it withstand tidal flooding and waterlogging during rain. An eco-friendly style of construction, it uses light-weight bricks and metal sheets that suit the terrain. The structure stands 4 ft above ground so that water will not enter the house even when the water level rises. “We will check if this method can be followed in other places prone to flooding. If this puts an end to the distress of islanders, the same system can be replicated in low-lying areas,” said Mr.Balagopal.

Disaster-proof amphibious houses are usually floating structures or those built on stilts. Material that can resist water is used for construction and the houses come with chemical toilets. Since tidal flooding is a recurrent problem in the island, attached toilets in most houses are useless during high tide. The local body had installed bio-toilets above water level in many places, but access is not easy during heavy rain and floods since the units are outside the houses. Amphibious houses are also expected to solve this problem permanently.

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