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“Safeguarding Indigenous Architecture in Vanuatu”

“Safeguarding Indigenous Architecture in Vanuatu” is the final report on the research carried out by the Vanuatu Culture Centre (VCC), as part of a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment following Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015. A category 5 cyclone, Pam caused widespread damage across Vanuatu, affecting more than half of its population. After the cyclone had passed, there was a great deal of talk among both the local community and the media about the use of ‘nakamals’, a specific type of indigenous architecture, as evacuation shelters during the cyclone. Research then began to collect data and information on the conditions of seven significant nakamals in the country.

The final report presents invaluable testimonies by village chiefs and community members that stress the importance of nakamals as shelters, as well as their cultural meanings and social functions, which are central to the wellbeing of the community. The report highlights several challenges faced by nakamals, including the proliferation of imported building materials and construction techniques, the shortage of raw materials and the lack of resources required to renovate or reconstruct them.

Download the final report from the UNESCO’s website.

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