Choosing Shelter Plans for Hazardous Areas
Shelters for Hazardous Areas
In many parts of the world disaster-relief shelters need tobe able to survive earthquakes and hurricanes. Structuresshould also be able to function well during the differentseasons. Yet shelters must be inexpensive and quick tobuild. They must also be structures that can be removedwhen the displaced population has found new homes.Earthbag is an inexpensive but very strong buildingtechnique that does not require much importedmaterial. But, like the adobe block techniques itresembles, it requires some understanding to makewise plan choices. Materials available to use inbuildings should determine their shape, wall height,and types of roofing supports.The strength of an earthbag wall is, like adobe,related to its shape. Compact and symmetrical layouts reduce damaging quake forces.
Curving walls are the strongest shapes if little or no reinforcement is available. Straightwalls can be strengthened with corner or internal bracing, a strong bond beam, and/orearthbag buttresses.Traditional roofs with small overhangs can be made hurricane resistant by fastening themsecurely to heavy earthbag walls and using heavy metal straps on top of corrugatedmetal. Temporary tarp roofs on earthbag walls may be fastened well enough to survivehigh winds by carefully nailing them on all sides to wood plates embedded in the walls.Keeping shelter floors dry during rainy seasons or floodingis often a more pervasive problem than withstandingintermittent hurricanes. Earthbags could be used as afoundation for less waterproof construction, or to form aseat wall inside a fabric shelter to keep the floor dryer.
High earthquake riskHigh hurricane riskLong rainy season