Samaritan’s Purse Planning 500 Earthbag Houses in Nepal

“Nepal’s April 2015 earthquake destroyed 91 of the 97 homes in Kumari Maya Tamang’s village a two-hour drive on bumpy and winding dirt roads from Kathmandu.

Almost all of the destroyed homes were two storeys high and made from red bricks mortared layer upon layer. When the earthquake hit, the brick walls quickly buckled and fell. The same thing happened in dozens of other Nepalese communities—killing more than 8,850 people, injuring almost 22,000, and leaving 3.5 million temporarily homeless in the nation of 26 million.

Because Tamang is 84, you might assume she’s reluctant to embrace new construction methods—insisting instead on a replacement home that’s almost identical to her old one.

But Tamang, a widow, is one of a handful of people in her village excitedly preparing to move into new homes that are nothing like their old ones. Samaritan’s Purse, in partnership with a Christian organization in Nepal, is building five model homes made from stacked bags of earth, similar to military bunkers.

“I’m so happy,” Tamang said, her weathered face breaking into a broad smile. “I’ve never seen this type of technology but I’m not afraid. I’m feeling very confident as I’ve watched skilled workers build my home.”

She pointed toward one of her village’s old-style houses and said: “I’d rather have a new-style home. It seems safer. And I am thankful to the people who have donated for these earthbag houses to be built.”
Samaritan’s Purse has approval from the Nepalese government to build 500 of the earthbag homes in various communities, Lakshmeshwar says. “We’re going to build . . . for especially vulnerable people.”

More at the source: Samaritan’s Purse
Questions for the builders:
Are they using continuous barbed wire between courses the correct way or only using little short pieces placed perpendicular to the walls?
Rebar pins only in the corners?
No buttresses?
Reinforced concrete bond beams?
My email is at the top of the page under About Us if you want to talk about these things.

4 thoughts on “Samaritan’s Purse Planning 500 Earthbag Houses in Nepal”

    • In earthquake zones you need continuous barbed wire running the entire length of the wall. The ends are overlapped and tired together. Little short pieces are inadequate. I wonder if they did both?

    • Write them for details. If no response, you can just go to Nepal and volunteer on any number of projects. They have to rebuild half of the country. There are endless volunteer opportunities if you are willing to rough it a bit.


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