Man shares mud idea for homeless

BUILD a mud house.

That’s the advice of a French-Hungarian national living in Lapu-Lapu City to homeless survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.

Lehel Racz, 75, who has built 20 mud houses in Europe, erected one beside his house in Fisherman’s Village, Barangay Punta Engaño to promote mud houses among typhoon survivors.

“Mud is everywhere,” he said yesterday, as he showed Sun.Star Cebu the interior of his 35-sq.-m. mud house, which he called “House of Hope.”

Racz built the sample shelter, which sits by the beach, with the help of two laborers for two months. He spent only P35,000 for the house, which has a nipa roof supported by bamboo poles.

But typhoon victims in Leyte, Samar, northern Cebu and other provinces may even spend less as they can just haul mud from their backyard.

“The government and international organizations cannot raise enough money to provide shelter for all 1.2 million families who lost their homes,” said Racz, who manufactures herbal medicines in Europe for a living.

He said he is willing to teach interested individuals who can share the skills to the typhoon victims. His sample mud house, he said, is open for those who are interested to learn.

Aside from being cheaper and easier to build, mud houses can withstand strong typhoons and earthquake, Racz said.

The walls, which are made of mud held together by buri fiber, become even stronger with time, he said. If properly covered, he said, the walls can last up to a thousand years.

Another advantage of a mud house, he said, is that it’s cooler, with an inside temperature lower by five to 10 degrees Celsius than outside. His mud house even has an improvised fridge.

“You don’t need an air-conditioner,” he said. “A mud house is cooler, safer and healthier.”

His sample mud house, which he described as “rustic,” has a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bed rooms.

Before Tacloban was hit by the typhoon, Racz said he got invited by a teacher there to demonstrate to students how to build a mud house and prepare survival food, another skill he has.

He went to Tacloban a month after the typhoon and was brought by the teacher to Eastern Samar, where he taught survivors how to build a mud house.

Racz said he is willing to go to more typhoon-wrecked areas to teach the locals. “I would like to teach people everywhere,” he said.

“I like the Philippines and its people,” he added, “and I’m happy to bring something that may be of help to this country.”

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