Re-Building Nepal using Earthbag Technology
In April 2015, Nepal got hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 that left 600.000 homes destroyed and many people without a roof over their head. The re-building of these homes has been a challenge ever since and will continue to be so, especially because of the the blockage and shortage in gas, diesel, cooking gas, building materials and more. The beginning of monsoon soon after the earthquake, prompted many aid organizations to hand out tin to the people affected so they can build emergency shelters and most people still sleep in these emergency shelters, which protect from rain but not from the wintry temperatures that Nepal sees in the colder Winter months.
There are different proposals to re-build Nepal, both sustainable and honoring the local tradition, and the modern approach of building with reinforced concrete and steal. Ever since the earthquake happened, I have been researching the most appropriate building technique for Nepal that is earthquake resistant, sustainable, uses local materials, fairly easy to learn, affordable, viable for remote villages and allows for traditional building designs. Earthbag building is the technique, that fulfills all of these criteria. Earthbag building is as strong as rammed earth but in bags, what makes it faster and cheaper to build. The polypropylene bags are filled with soil, stacked like bricks and tamped flat. Barbed wire between courses keeps bags from slipping and adds tensile strength. The final plastered walls look just like a traditional earthen house.
During my trip to Nepal in October and November 2015 I got in touch with a German NGO, who raised money to re-build several houses in Nepali villages, the first one is Mulabari in Nuwakot district. My background in Natural Building was very helpful and I consulted them with their earthbag buildings and clay plasters.
The families who want to rebuild their houses using earthbag technology are organized in building teams and trained by experienced earthbag builders. By building each others houses, the villagers learn the new skills and build their houses at the same time. The NGO provides the materials and the know-how, the Nepali people their labor and enthusiasm to build their new homes.
Joshua and myself, Eva, of Building Connections will be managing the project sponsored by Carisimo – Help for Nepal, a German NGO.
Our mission is to help re-build Nepal, to build houses, stoves and share building techniques with the people there. Your contributions will help us get there and share our knowledge on how to build safe houses and efficient cooking stoves. They will learn HOW to do it, so they themselves and can build up their communities again.
To donate, please visit Joshua’s homepage. All the donations will benefit the Nepali people and Nepal’s environment.
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