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Architecture For Humanity Seeking Reconstruction Help in Devastated Southeast Asia

In the wake of Sunday's devastating tsunamis in Southeast Asia, said to have killed at least 40,000 people and left up to a million homeless, Architecture for Humanity, which organizes architectural services for humanitarian crises, is soliciting funds and services to aid much-needed reconstruction in the region.

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Money will help develop long-term housing designs and strategies that will, according to AFO Chairman Cameron Sinclair, be highly sustainable and intelligently planned. Possible strategies include use of local materials like thatch, straw-bale, stone, and even recycled shipping containers, although none have been chosen yet. Without the help of architects and construction experts, Sinclair adds, such housing can often take the form of temporary refugee camps that turn into poorly-planned, unsanitary, and wasteful permanent housing.

Architects can contribute money or lend their services through the organization's website, www.architectureforhumanity.org. AFH, which has already raised more than $5,000 since Sunday, is coordinating with web site worldchanging.com, and with large local NGO's such as Relief International and the International Medical Corps, and is in discussions with several others.

Sam Lubell