..Guadua angustifolia has a long cultural tradition in the coastal lowlands of West Ecuador. Despite its excellent mechanical properties and versatility, it has mostly been used as a raw material for low-cost housing, while further product development has been very limited until now. In the last years, a Guadua revival seems to have occurred and improved building techniques together with other commercial applications are slowly getting momentum." (Cleuren and Henkemans, 2003) However, it is noted that this sector in the country of Ecuador is "...still in the initial stage of development and the first investments in artisanal workshops and in industrial applications are now being developed. However, the production chain is hardly organized, the actors lack strategic planning and the activities in the different stages of the chain are not synchronized. The challenge is to link the processing industry to a rural supply system benefiting the impoverished part of the population. The management and primary processing of Guadua culms could become an important income source for Ecuador's rural poor, provided that they are supported in the acquirement of basic skills and the development of small enterprises. Moreover, planting Guadua has several environmental advantages and, thus, may offer a win-win scenario resulting in genuine sustainable development. This article tries to answer the question if Ecuador is on the right track towards such development and whether this trend stands on its own, or could be exemplary for other countries in South America with large bamboo resources." (Cleuren and Henkemans, 2003) the work of Ofori (nd) entitled: "Construction in Disaster Management" relates that in countries such as Ecuador which are prone to disasters, "...the situation is getting worse. Moreover, the frequency of disasters and their effects seem to be increasing. Of the 100 most costly natural disasters of the 20th century, 65 occurred in the 1990s, 25 in the 1980s and 10 in the 1970s, and much fewer in previous decades. Much of the physical damage from disasters is to products of the construction industry." (nd) Ofori relates that in 1996, the Habitat Agenda was passed which "...urged local, national and international action to enhance capabilities in disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness; and the Draft Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium." (Ofori, nd) the Draft Declaration states: "...committing the international community to improving prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and response capabilities with the cooperation of national and international networks in order to reduce the vulnerability of human settlements to natural and human-made disasters, and to implement effective post-disaster programs for the effective human settlements aimed, inter alia, at meeting immediate needs, reducing future disaster risks and making rebuilt human settlements accessible for all." (Ofori, nd) it is held that the need for research and development exists in relation to various factors relating to the links between constructed dwellings and disasters including: (1) the changing patterns of the causes of disasters and their implications for construction; (2) appropriate design in response to local knowledge on the impact of disasters on constructed items; and (3) suitable construction materials and methods, which enhance the capability of, constructed items to withstand disasters. (Ofori, nd)
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
Because the natural disasters in Ecuador strike in the same areas over and over again, the need for construction that is able to withstand natural disasters is of paramount importance in this region of the world. Only recently has this fact been acknowledged however, this factor to homelessness in Ecuador is presently being addressed.
Ofori, G. (nd) Construction in Disaster Management. Department of Building, National University of Singapore. Online available at http://buildnet.csir.co.za/cdcproc/docs/3rd/ofori02.pdf
Cleuren, H.M. And Henkemans. a.B. (2003) Development of the Bamboo Sector in Ecuador: Harnessing the Potential of Guadua Angustifolia. Journal of Bamboo and Rattan, Vol. 2, No. 2.
Tobin, Graham, a. And Whiteford, Linda M. (2002) Community Resilience and Volcano Hazard: The Eruption of Tungurahua and Evacuation of the Faldas in Ecuador. Disaster, 2002, 25(1).
Vos, R., Velasco, M. And Labastida, E. (1999) Economic and Social Effects of El Nino in Ecuador, 1998-1998. Inter-American Development Bank. Sustainable Development Department. October 1999.
Thousands Remain Homeless After Torrential Rains and Flooding in Ecuador. 2 Apr 2008. UNICEF - Unite for Children. Online available at http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ecuador_43459.html
Conner, Charlie (2007) in Spite of it All: Ecuador's NGOs. Ecuador Explorer. Online available at http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/ngo_list.html