On May 27, 2006, an earthquake hit Indonesia in the region of Yogyakarta in the southern portion of central Java. The village of Ngibikan, located less than 10 kilometres from the quake’s epicenter was destroyed. More than 5,700 people died and more than 140,000 homes in the immediate region were severely damaged. With financial assistance from a local newspaper, and design input from local architect Eko Prawoto, the villagers of Ngibikan, led by community leader Maryono, reconstructed 65 homes in less than 90 days. The new homes are based on a vernacular building type, the limas an house with innovative modifications to keep the wooden structures lightweight but at the same time resistant to future earthquakes. The community rebuilt the physical fabric of their environment which in turn helped to rebuild the ‘gotong royong’ or togetherness of this agrarian village. As such, the Ngibikan village reconstruction provides an alternative model for a post-disaster reconstruction project that demonstrates the enormous positive impact of a grassroots rebuilding effort.
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