Cuenca expat couple promotes housing solution for earthquake victims

Jul 24, 2016 | 4 comments

Expats Peter Dudar and Sally Mar are on a mission to house the 9,000 victims of the April 16 coast earthquake who are still without comfortable shelter.

Peter Dunbar and Sally Mar at Hello People fair. (El Tiempo)

Peter Dunbar and Sally Mar at Hello People fair. (El Tiempo)

On Saturday, the couple explained their concept of a climate- and eco-friendly domed tent at the “Hello People” food and crafts fair in the San Luis Seminary courtyard. The fair supports businesses and residents of earthquake-ravaged Manabí Province and includes vendors from the area.

The tents Dudar and Mar are promoting and collecting donations for, can house a family of four and are constructed of light-weight material to mitigate the coastal heat and humidity. An inner layer of fabric reflects light away from the interior and the high ceiling and a top vent allow heat to escape, Dudar says. He adds that the design is intended to provide a “comfortable and dignified” living space until the occupants can return to permanent housing. Each tents costs about $150 to manufacture.

Although thousands of earthquake refugees are living in tents donated by the U.S., China and the United Nations, most are not designed for the equatorial climate.

Dudar and Mar began their mission at a May 9 benefit concert, and have made a number of trips from Cuenca to the coast to talk to local officials about their plan. They have also met with banks and civic groups in search of funding.

The “Hello People” fair at Seminario San Luis, next to the cathedral on Benigno Malo, continues today.

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