Following the lecture we went to look at two different approaches to shelter provision for the households who lost their homes in the flooding of August 2010.
The first stop was ‘Solar Colony’ to look at some of the prefabricated shelter units provided by the Leh District Administration. These were imported to Ladakh at extremely high cost (Rs. 400,000 per shelter). ‘Solar Colony’ is a misleading name for the settlement as the prefab units make no use of solar gain or solar energy in their design or in the site layout.
A resident explained that the units were not well adapted to the cultural or climatic needs of the region, and were impossible to live in during the cold winter. She also explained how there were not enough toilets provided for the residents, and that as they are flush toilets they are now dirty and disused. Although the government is providing money for expansion, she explained how stringent rules are forcing them to build a culturally inappropriate house layout. She hopes to be able to remove the white prefabricated shelter once the rest of the house has been built.
Our next stop was Shey to look at an alternative to prefab shelters. These one room shelters (provided by NGOs SEEDS & LEDeG) were a similar size to the government units but were provided for 65% of the cost (a total of Rs.260,000) and included a Ladakhi composting toilet for each unit. The shelters used local materials (mud and timber) where possible and were designed to reduce risk to future disasters such as earthquakes and floods. New technology such as double walls, insulation, and trombe wall technology ensured that these shelters were comfortable to live in during the cold winter. Residents have been expanding their shelters with the help of government grants. At least one resident has expanded his shelter to include more trombe wall technology.