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Paper school survived Taiwan typhoon

A Canadian teacher and his Taiwanese wife have built their dream school house out of paper maché.  John Lamorie, an English teacher living in Taiwan, collected 1,300kg of old newspapers and compacted them with a pulping machine he made. He then turned the paper mulch into moulds to make paper building bricks.The school, which is big enough for 16 children, passed the acid test in August last year, when it survived Typhoon Morakot. The deadly storm battered the island with gusts up to 115 mph (185 km/h). The tropical storm packed gusts up to 115 mph (185 km/h) and dumping a record three metres of rain, toppling buildings and submerging entire streets. It took the couple almost a year to build, but now they have an environmentally friendly school house in Pingtung, southern Taiwan. And it only cost them about £110 ($160.) Mr Lamorie was born in Canada, but grew up in New Zealand before settling in Taiwan 11 years ago, where he met his wife, Wu Lian-chun.

When he is not teaching English, Mr Lamorie does carpentry, building and glass painting projects. He has already made five wooden houses abroad and bought his plot of land in Pingtung County five years ago. He uses recycled materials as possible. He got his window frames when his mother-in-law renovated her house. It started when his friend visiting from the US happened to mention the idea of a paper house, Lamorie told The Taipei Times newspaper. He looked on the internet for information about how he could make one himself and ended up building his own paper pulping machine using old tyres, plastic buckets and a lawnmower blade. He even gave his students bonus points to save their old newspapers for him.

Once the pulper was working, their next step was to make moulds for the bricks. They left the bricks out to dry in the sun. They imported silicon paint to make sure the bricks were waterproof. They are also soundproof and provide good insulation. Typhoon Morakot caused Taiwan's worst flooding in half a century and killed about 600 people leaving many more people missing. It caused at least five billion Taiwan dollars in agricultural damage while a total of 61,000 houses were left without power and 850,000 homes without water. The extreme amount of rain triggered enormous mudslides and severe flooding throughout southern Taiwan. One mudslide buried the entire town of Xiaolin killing an estimated 500 people in the village alone.

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