Nepal earthquake – immediate action – building places for families to store, prepare and cook food.

May 20th, 2015

With the wet season approaching, and only emergency shelter able to provided, an additional place to allow the safe storage, preparation and cooking of food is high on the priority list of the families who have lost houses.

Separating food storage, preparation and cooking from children, bedding and personal items (in the main emergency shelter) will improve both fire and food safety.

Main Emergency Shelter

Old Ladyjpg

Whether a tent, series of plastics sheets or corrugated sheet structure (above), the emergency shelters are minimal. Cooking in small spaces full of blankets, mosquito nets and young children is a dangerous prospect.

The Cooking Shelter

The first of approximately 80 kitchen shelters was erected as a prototype structure to test the size, materials used and the design principles for siting and specification of materials. 

To start, 5 sheets of 2.4m long corrugated steel sheet will be supplied to approximately 80 families and the local bamboo/structural timber, wire, excavation work and labour will by supplied by the village. The proto-type shelter design and construction method was tested and the purchase of the increasingly scarce sheet material has commenced. The method of construction will leave the roof sheets undamaged for later re-use in the permanent house reconstruction.

Many biogas systems remain intact and some animals are still able to be fed and the toilet and animal waste can charge the systems. The problem is that if the kitchen area in the main room of the house is still standing  most are too dangerous to use and therefore the gas is hard to access.

An interim solution for cooking are wood burning stoves in well ventilated ‘kitchen shelters’ located near the temporary living shelters.

Old And New 2

Cooking on rocks and the metal stove.

Bigger Wood Opening

The first test …making tea for the construction team! Local village experts suggested a larger feed opening to allow a larger piece of timber to be fed into the unit slowly. (above) and some instant ‘design’ changes to make the pots sit more firmly of the stove top (below)

Fine Tuning Of The Design

The engineering students at the local campus of  Kathmandu University made a series of basic cooking units to fill this need. HH has taken the ‘best’ of the units to one of the worst affected villages for a trial by the villagers. This led to immediate design changes, obtaining quotes fro the local production of the units and the production of the first batch of 50 units at a locally produced cost of around AUD$30 per unit. These units will form one part of the ‘kitchen shelter’.

After suggesting the minor modifications and testing the unit with different pot diameters, the local experts were happy with the unit. (see picture below)

Cooks Agree