Emergency Shelters

This Emergency Earthbag Shelter was designed by Kelly Hart and Dr. Owen Geiger as a response to the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. The challenge was to provide quick, safe, decent shelter with minimal tools and supplies to sustain life through the winter. It could provide more permanent shelter with modest modifications.

Post-Tsunami Affordable Housing Project This project was an effort to help those in need of shelter who were tragically impacted by the December 2004 tsunami. Unlike most other housing designs that have been proposed, this design focuses on low-cost, sustainable building materials and techniques, while also striving to make the homes tsunami, earthquake, and hurricane resistant.


Emergency Earthbag Shelter Proposal, by Dr. Owen Geiger and Patti Stouter, ASLA. The building concept outlined here consists of sandbag (earthbag) walls filled with sand or soil from the site, and tarps for roofing. These emergency shelters would only be slightly more expensive than tarps by themselves, but provide superior protection against wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, bullets, fire, flooding, hurricanes and noise.

How to build a small earthbag dome made by Kelly and Rosana Hart is described in text and pictures. This three part series of pages gives enough information to actually try building something similar yourself. The dome is 14 feet in diameter at the base inside and has a small loft. All materials, including bags, door, windows, loft, stove pipe, etc. cost about $1,000 US. Completed in 1998.


Earthquake Relief in Pakistan Shows a variety of emergency shelters using earthbags which were organized by CalEarth Pakistan and Sasi Foundatioon.   These photos were taken by a roving monk who has traveled the world helping people make earthbag dwellings.



The First Aid Earthquake House is made out of very simple materials: sand bags, rope lines, tape and available insulation materials.  The construction process begins with filling the sand bags with fine and heavy materials, where this is possible. The house is designed in such a way that people can construct this facility themselves. Hence, we offer a materials kit and clear instructions of how to build this shelter.

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