Earthbag Construction

In a village near Gonaives called Bongnol, HCDP hired men of the community to build 14 earthbag houses for earthquake refugees. The unique thing about these houses is that they are durable against earthquakes and tropical storms at the low cost of $2,200 each (as low as 1/3 the cost of other common methods for building small relief houses). This is do to the nature of the earthbags, which are sacks filled with a mixture of clay and dirt from the earth that typically shift instead of collapse in the event of earthquakes or strong winds. Between each layer of earthbag, a barbed wire is run across to hold the layers tightly together. Then, once the walls have been built, an outer layer of concrete puts the finishing touches on the walls. One great feature about using cement and earthbags is that it has a cooling effect on the interior of the house, making it 10-15 degrees cooler on the inside.

Pictured above, Dr. Mike Justus hands keys of first donated house in Bongnol village to a lady and her two sons who were homeless and displaced by the Port au Prince earthquake. Since this picture, thirteen more earthbag houses have been completed and filled with displaced people. The accomplishment was made possible by the partnership between HCDP and some wonderful and dedicated Haitian team members. We look forward to constructing many more houses in order to meet the need for more permanent, durable shelters in the Artibonite Valley.


Click here to watch a short clip showing the earthbag construction in the village of Bangnol.