Patti Stouter and I have just completed a proposal for Emergency Earthbag Shelters. The basic premise is many times tarps alone do not provide sufficient shelter for humanitarian relief operations, while tents may not be available or cost effective. What is often needed is a simple family shelter solution that is easy to transport and erect, less expensive than tents and uses standard materials that are globally available.
Simple earthbag shelters are ideal for emergency use. Sandbags (earthbags) are only slightly more expensive than tarps by themselves, but provide superior protection against wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, bullets, fire, flooding, hurricanes and noise.
Earthbags are light and easily transportable, adaptable to many different situations and provide a more dignified living space than just a tarp. They reduce the impact on local resources by minimizing need for wood. Recipients can modify the space to meet their needs. In addition to many other advantages, emergency earthbag shelters could be incrementally upgraded to make permanent shelters.
Special thanks to Patti for doing such a great job on the illustrations! She’s also submitted three other reports on earthbag building in the last few weeks: www.earthbagbuilding.com/articles.htm.