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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.

UN emergency earthbag shelters.

UN earthbag emergency shelters.

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.

The complete report by Owen Geiger and Patti Stouter, An Emergency Earthbag Shelter Proposal, is available here.

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This Emergency Shelter design is the result of collaboration between Kelly Hart and Owen Geiger. We came up with this design in response to a plea from aid agencies operating in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake there. The challenge was to provide quick, safe, decent shelter with minimal tools and supplies to sustain life through the winter. Access to remote areas was extremely difficult, since many roads had been destroyed or blocked by landslides. Because of these and other difficulties, and the fact that winter would create a much more dire situation, fast easy-to-build temporary shelter seemed most appropriate.

Earthbag Emergency Shelter

Earthbag Emergency Shelter

For complete information, click here.

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