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Earthbag Women’s Centre in Vanuatu Withstands Category 5 Cyclone — 13 Comments

  1. Hi
    I just returned from a 2 week trip with Volunteer Vanuatu. A fantastic organisation that does many projects including water tanks and rebuilding. I didn’t hear them talk about earthbags which makes me think perhaps they haven’t heard about you!!
    info@volunteervanuatu.org is their email, perhaps you could send them an email?
    Thanks :)

  2. What a wonderful story amidst so many sad one with Cyclone Pam. There are a group of us that have lived in Vanuatu that are headed that way this summer to help some of the villages on Tanna. We would love to get in touch with Liz Sherborne or anyone who has done the earth bag building so that we can gather valuable information from someone who has already built with this method in Vanuatu. Any information you could give us for sourcing materials would be so appreciated to. My email is sheiraleavitt@gmail.com Thank you so much.

  3. Owen was so generous with plan , process and sharing and brainstorming !
    Congratulations !
    It worked
    With Liz and Alex ‘a POWER AND DETERMINATION

    • Now let’s hope some NGOs step up and run with the idea. What are they waiting for? The proof is overwhelming. Our websites explain everything in detail. Free YouTube clips show every step. I even have a DVD and ebook if you don’t want to spend hours and hours reading our websites.

  4. I reread the original stories on the women’s group building the round houses on Vanuatu the night Cyclone Pam hit the area. I have been waiting for this story, that tells a wide audience of the viability of earthbag buildings in a super storm.

    I agree with the article that the wide exposure of the strength of earthbag construction will lead to more of these buildings. Wider acceptance will surely lead to refinements of building techniques that will benefit everyone interested in building their own.

    • I imagine the communication systems in Vanuatu were damaged, plus it must be hard to move about. Only some text messages have been sent so far.

      In general, people are very slow to make changes (ex: switch from familiar concrete to earthbags). Year after year we post hundreds of stories about how strong earthbag houses are and how they’re simple to build. It’s like trying to move a mountain with a shovel. Bit by bit we’re making progress though. Sometimes a story like this can bring significant change. We know earthbag building works great. Now we need some medium size and big players to start building this way.

  5. The three pieces of roofing probably wouldn’t have blown off if the storm shutters and new doors were finished. It’s thick metal roofing, not the usual thin stuff.

  6. Big thumbs up for Bundaberg Bags here. I built a garden bed with their tubes, did not cover it / plaster it for a year (do not do this), but still absolutely no sun damage. Their UV protection is top notch. Again – don’t do this, but you probably don’t need to be obsessive about sun protection in the build stage with their tubes.

    • Amazing. That’s good to know. Thanks for the report. Most bags suddenly fail after 2-3 months or even less. One week they look fine. The next week they’re disintegrating.

      Bundaberg Bag needs a distributor in Port Vila. I predict there will be a major NGO rebuilding effort like in Haiti.

  7. Bundaberg Bag Company also supplied the narrow tubing for the earthbag water tank. I hope NGOs and government agencies read this and buy lots of tubing for building new water tanks throughout Vanuatu. The water tank instructable linked above has all the details. As I’ve been saying for months, earthbag water tanks are one if not the best water tank solutions for Vanuatu and other remote islands. Plastic tanks are too bulky and have high shipping costs. Rolls of tubing in comparison are much more compact.

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