03 November 2005

Roof caves in on Irish-SA charity project as gale-force winds topple new homes -

Irish Independent

**See >>this article about the project

A GROUP of Irish builders on a charity project in South Africa faced a cruel setback yesterday when gales damaged more than half the houses they built.

Over 70pc of the work carried out by the builders - as part of the Niall Mellon Project - was damaged or destroyed by the massive winds.

As the volunteer builders arrived on site they were faced with scenes of complete destruction.

"It was terrible arriving today and seeing all the damage. Some of the houses are half knocked, some are completely ruined," said one worker.

Since beginning work on the houses on Saturday morning almost 60 houses had been built. But now with more than half of their work damaged the teams must begin again and hope that they will be able to catch up.

"It takes a team of ten, two days to build and roof a house. This is definitely a huge setback," the worker stated.

The volunteers were told of the destruction early yesterday morning by Niall Mellon as they were being bussed out to the work site.

The gales in the area are renowned for blowing up with little warning. Despite having secured the buildings the strength of the gales makes it almost impossible to ensure the half-finished houses can withstand them.

The team of 200 men arrived in Cape Town on Friday and began work on Saturday morning.

A further 500 men were due to take over in a week's time to insert electricity, plumbing and plaster the homes.

Now the entire project has been hit by the damage which will affect the number of houses ready for the second team to finish.

The charity organisation, dedicated to building houses for poverty stricken people living in South Africa had volunteer builders, electricians, plumbers and plasterers working to house some of the 12,000 people currently working in hut dwellings.

Caroline Crawford


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