News Report about Earthbag School Surviving Quake

We have already reported about the amazing survival of many earthbag structures in Nepal after their big quake. This fact is now being picked up by some major news outlets. For instance media conglomerate 3News in New Zealand has produced news accounts both on television and online:

“They say earthquakes don’t kill people, but buildings do – no more so than in Nepal where entire villages have been flattened. But in the rural village of Sangachok, there is one building that is still standing, all thanks to the handiwork of a team half a world away.

In Sangachok, there is destruction as far as the eye can see, but among the rubble and crumbled buildings there is some good news, and what could be a lesson for Nepal in earthquake resilience. Nelson-based First Steps Himalaya raised money to build the training centre for teachers to improve education in rural Nepal. The building remains standing even after the earthquake.

Volunteers from New Zealand and Nepal used rice bags filled with soil, which are laid out like bricks, covered with chicken wire and then plastered over. The Auckland company that helped construct it hopes it can deliver much more than that.

“We could try and get these earthbag buildings moving forward to the villages, and get them to start to use that simple product,” says Cameron Court of Court Construction. “The real kicker is that it can wobble a little bit, and so you’ve got a bit of earthquake resistance as opposed to sheer mud walls, mud brick walls, or most of the buildings done out of the Kathmandu brick, which is terribly bad for the environment.”

The building was only finished six days before the earthquake, and is a welcome sight in the village of 3000 where accommodation is now scarce. “We know they are using it as a shelter because 90 percent of the area around there is flattened,” Mr Court says.

For First Steps Himalaya charity founder Durga Aran it is a glimmer of hope for a nation in crisis that, with enough fundraising, the Nepalese might now be able to construct safe buildings, one earthbag at a time.

People wishing to donate to First Steps Himalaya can do so through its appeal on its website or on Facebook.

You can watch the actual TV newscast by going to their website.
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4 thoughts on “News Report about Earthbag School Surviving Quake”

  1. Hi Please send any information on how I can get involved in building earthbag shelters. I want to return to Nepal in November 2015 to help build

    • There must be unlimited opportunities for this in Nepal. You’ll need to contact some NGOs first. The government is turning people away from certain areas.

      I may do another blog post about shelters before long. An NGO may use my mesh reinforced stone wall idea for emergency shelters. See what happens.

  2. That is great news that we are getting reports of the earthbag structures withstanding the earthquakes. What’s even more impressive is that it’s all done with simple supplies, equipment, and skills that don’t take specialized training. Our prayers go out to the people affected by this devastation.

    • We’ve heard from every earthbag project except one in a remote village. Every earthbag building in Nepal that we’ve heard from (about 50) is intact with little or no damage even though the surrounding homes are severely damaged.


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