In May 2004, Build Change studied the intermediate shelters and permanent shelter reconstruction that followed the December 26, 2003 earthquake. The intermediate shelters constructed by aid organizations could be constructed quickly, required little maintenance, and exhibited a light-weight, earthquake-resistant design. However, they were poorly adapted to the hot, arid desert climate of Bam. The campgrounds lacked adequate shade and in some cases did not adequately consider cultural requirements. Deficiencies in masonry infill and reinforced concrete foundations were observed.
Several non-profit organizations reported difficulties in finding qualified building contractors for permanent reconstruction efforts. Except for on-the-job supervision, no training or capacity-building efforts for local builders were reported by any of the organizations interviewed. Given the substantial reliance on contractors and builders from other parts of Iran, it is not clear if rural homeowners will continue to have access to construction personnel who are capable of building a quality, earthquake-resistant structure in the future.
Region and Risks
On December 26, 2003, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck Bam, Iran.
Over 20,000 people were killed, and the prevalent mud brick building design failed in nearly 90% of structures. Nearly 160,000 people needed shelter in and around Bam.