Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

Earth bag construction offered as a solution to Haiti’s shelter woes

A group of college students and engineering professionals from Maryland has departed for Haiti, where they plan to show homeless Haitians how to build sturdy, storm-resistant structures from “earth bags” – polypropylene bags filled with earth from the local area – or even crushed rubble (Washington Post).  Depending on what is available in the area, thatch, bamboo or a tarp can be used for a roof, and plasters, stucco or barbed wire holds the bags together.

About 13 University of Maryland and three Howard students were scheduled to make the trip, along with a handful of engineering professionals. Their main goal is to teach earth bag construction to Haitian residents and students in hopes that those residents will be able to teach others to use the method for years to come.
Each student paid about $800 for the trip, while the professionals paid $1,000 each, Bleus said. Anyiwo said he plans a second trip to Haiti this summer.
Earth bag construction has been adopted in other parts of the world as a “green,” sturdy and economic method for constructing emergency housing.

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