Haiti Earthquake and the Tiny House Community

*Update I think you will enjoy Ian’s input who has experienced his own disaster. Please read below first picture. Also a note from the Colorado Yurt Company.

Peter Sing of Sing Tiny House contacted me with a suggestion of getting the Tiny House Community to generate ideas and designs for housing for those who have lost their homes in the horrible earthquake in Haiti.

We should brainstorm ideas for basic emergency shelter and also more permanent shelter when Haiti starts to rebuild.

I have been trying to think of the best way to do this and think that by using the comments section of this post we can start generating ideas. If you have a design you would like to share email it to me at tinyhouseblog at gmail dot com (be sure and put the email address in the correct format) and I will then put together a post to show your potential designs. I will work on who to contact to submit our ideas too. Any suggestions are welcome. Let’s pitch together and see what we can do to help!

Below are a couple of pictures of some of the standard housing in Haiti.

I’m addressing your call for ideas to help out the Haiti Earthquake victims.  Following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the biggest short term challenge will be getting people clean water or ways to purify water through solar or other means.  Then comes waste treatment.  Solve these problems first and you’ve got the disease factor at least limited.   Food gathering and storage naturally would follow after that.

The next biggest challenge is to get housing for a lot of people quickly.  There little time for framing or lengthy custom interior work and there may not be a lot of material available.  One approach would be to use 20′ cargo containers with pre-canned interiors.  Then set up an assembly line, most likely near a port, employ and feed people and start building these units and distribute them as needed.  Set up multiple assembly lines.  Use the same toilets, sinks, tables, etc so that you only design once and build many.    There’s not too much room for variety here and these could be modified at a later date, but the idea is to get housing quickly.

Alternatively, tent structures like yurts and geodesic domes could go a long way but the availability of these custom units could be problematic.

Being no stranger to natural disasters (Ref:  http://www.mercurynewsphoto.com/2008/05/fireaudioss/http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/23/summit.wildfire/index.html ), I felt compelled to answer your call for ideas using my own experience in the recovery (aka discovery) process that is still going on physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I gave the container assembly line some more thought on my drive into mid shift this morning.  For this to effectively work, the system needs electricity to run the plasma cutters grinders, saws, and other tools.  I doubt that electricity would be available from the local utility as it most likely suffered severe damage. Generators will only go as far as the available gas.

It’s certainly a challenge.

Ian McClelland

Also from Colorado Yurt Company

We are looking into the feasibility and logistics of getting yurts, tipis or tents to Haiti right now for temp and more permanent shelter. Would appreciate any feedback anyone has – especially if you’ve been involved in disaster relief or are familiar with the country. Thanks!
Jennie – Colorado Yurt Company

Stay up to Date with the Tiny House Movement

Join our email list and stay updated with what is going on in the Tiny House World.


Simply enter your name and email below and we will notify you of new and exciting content here at the Tiny House Blog.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Anne - January 14, 2010 Reply

This sounds a brilliant idea. A way to get recyclable materials there and salvaged would also be useful… adobe and metal type housing works well, a lack of wood has long been an issue. Even dirt is hard to come by and costly in some locales, even in better times.

Anna - January 14, 2010 Reply

Earthbags! Check out Owen Geiger: http://earthbagplans.wordpress.com/

lellewynn - January 14, 2010 Reply

i agree with anne, adobe would be awesome because the dirt is already there. Or Earthbag homes. Something with a gravity fed water system of some sort with a water catchment, and grey water to water the lawn et cetera. solar ovens that you can open from the inside would also be neat i think.
I also think teaching them to bio-intensive garden would be awesome. So seed donations would rock out.

my two cents.

miranda - January 14, 2010 Reply

For emergency shelter, they need something fast easy and light weight. People are tired, injured, hungry and emotionally shaken (no pun).
Tents and teppees are light weight and cheap to ship compared to shipping building supplies. As for longer term housing, the late Nader Khalili of Cal Earth Institue has one of the best emergency plans I have ever heard of. The added benefit is that it is a substainable and non toxic plan.
I agree with one of the other comments about providing solar ovens. Again, simple and lightweight for shipping.
The Haiti people know alot about reuse and recycle, out of necessity. Their poverty level is appalling high and they don’t waste anything.
Hopefully, the world will band together and help the survivers rebuild a better life.
My deepest sympathy to those who lost friends and family.

    LEE - January 20, 2010 Reply

    I with you Miranda on the Narader Khalili earthen houses (Cal- Architects). They are stable easy to construct, and have a long term life span. His site has pictures of emergency housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
    Is there any organization, company, etc. heading the emergency house construction situation in Haiti?

    There was a reported 6.1 aftershock earlier today 1-20-2010. Not much more physical damage ensued, everything in the quake path is pretty well down from the earthquake.

jeff - January 14, 2010 Reply

I wonder if the folks at arial homes have any thoughts on the matter.
Saw a post on Arial homes at the tiny house design blog.

http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/2008/10/19/arial-home-initiative-prefab-tiny-house/

Christina Nellemann - January 14, 2010 Reply

I do think that Tim Cornell’s P-Pod design would be an ideal solution.

http://tinyhouseblog.com/pre-fab/the-p-pod

So far, it is my favorite self contained portable housing unit. Whether it is temporary or permanent, it would work well in the tropical climate of Haiti.

In the meantime, I will be sending cash to the relief effort.

Kootenaymum2three - January 14, 2010 Reply

In the process of some research I have done at work, I found some great small homes that are intended for emergency housing madefrom shipping containers. They’re ideal. Ready made and easy to ship into a location. A good example is PFNC Global.

http://www.pfnc.net/residence.htm

Susan McReynolds - January 14, 2010 Reply

I have already donated to one relief group that has emergency housing available for global disasters-they provide excellent tents for shelter for the first few months- but I am in agreement that we need to help with something permanent. Having lived on Hispaniola I know Haiti is totally denuded. No wood available. We need to provide help on building homes in an area that is often wet and suffers FREQUENT hurricanes. I would be willing to donate if we could form a non-profit group in the next year:) Susan

Moontreeranch - January 14, 2010 Reply

The people of Haiti are quite impoverished…even empty shipping containers would seem like a castle to most….and I recently saw a program on the overwhelming abundance that we have here in the US…I have seen these on ebay from $800 to a $1000 for a 20 footer and the larger 40 foot ones at about $1500…Perhaps the large corporations that own these could donate them to a needy cause. They are pretty earthquake proof, and come weather tight. A shipload of these and a few trucks to deliver them to the people in the country side and you have instant shelter…they can modify them once they are set.

    Kootenaymum2three - January 14, 2010 Reply

    The company I referred to in my earlier post actually outfits them to sleep 2-6 people per container, with a small kitchen and bathroom facilities. It’s nothing fancy, but decent and solid housing.

    Kootenaymum2three - January 14, 2010 Reply

    Also, see the following. A much simpler shelter, but specifically intended for this use.

    http://www.archidose.org/Feb02/020402.html

      Anne - January 14, 2010 Reply

      A good one… The previous one would be hard to use in Haiti, the lack of an infrastructure for water and sewer would have made the kitchen and bath virtually useless in most locales, even before the quake… this one could be retrofitted to include a small water supply.

susan harris - January 14, 2010 Reply

I saw a page at http://www.gardendome.com/Survival_Emergency_Domes.html
not sure if the address is still good..they offer to ship kits from texas to anywhere in the world..tools included…for relief organizations..could one of you who is more computer savy than I check this out please?

Pierre Fortier - January 14, 2010 Reply

Shipping containers housing units here in Canada and the US could be prepared and shipped by boat to Haiti; if they ever have to be relocated, it would be easy. Volunteer groups and businesses could supply labor and materials.

Pete Jensen - January 14, 2010 Reply

I’ve seen a number of designs for homes that use old shipping containers as the base structure. They’re plentiful, and relatively cheap. Even without a whole lot of modification, they’d probably be on par with their current housing, but some of the more finished designs are downright amazing. If there was an easy way to fabricate some of those into temporary housing, perhaps with the option of being upgraded in time, I bet they could be turned around rather quickly and shipped as easily as a plain container.

cora Muis - January 14, 2010 Reply

Shipping containers full of other needs, then converted.

    Pete Jensen - January 14, 2010 Reply

    You could fill the containers with the parts needed to make them livable, as well as food, water, blankets and whatnot, suitable for the number of inhabitants, a complete aid package in one container. The only trick would be getting them around the country. Either by boat at the coasts, truck if the roads are clear, or perhaps by chopper if land travel isn’t viable.

John P - January 14, 2010 Reply

Seems like revisiting the hexayurt might be a good idea.

amanda - January 14, 2010 Reply

Kent, I just wanted to say thank you for starting this discussion. I can hardly see the news about Haiti without thinking of how much better off they’d be if there was a system in place to provide more adequate housing there. The superadobe homes were created for exactly these situations where there’s so little capital for housing. I know many more people would have survived if the ramshackle urban slums weren’t the norm in Port-au-Prince.

patty - January 14, 2010 Reply

There are numerous companies around the world which specialize in disaster relief housing of a permanent nature. In India they are building some interesting bamboo houses as bamboo grows so fast and is strong and not of much interest to termites.
One company which builds some pretty nice houses designed to with stand earthquakes and hurricanes is out of the U.K. and ships self contained homes complete with all the tools necessary in units of 500. See: http://www.benfieldatt.co.uk/timber_frame_products/benfield_att_affordable_standard_plans/international_disaster_relief_housing_standard_designs/disaster_relief_relocatable_and_permanent_housing

Numerous companies provide converted cargo containers for disaster relief housing.Generally done up in a bunk house style.
Habitat for Humanity International and numerous other NGOs use “compressed earth bricks” of which there are lots of inexpensive types of equipment available. Surprisingly the manufactured motorized equipment often proves a better bargain than made on the spot equipment despite the difference in initial cost. Since dirt is pretty much available everywhere and only is some climates require the addition of cement or other mixer for weather resistance this leads in popularity for long term housing among NGOs.
So if you are thinking of designing small housing for Haiti it need to be both earthquake and hurricane proof. Have a way to capture and store water as well as dispose of waste (no municipal sewer system), a small area for a garden would be helpful (if you provide seeds, close to half live on less than a dollar a day) and a charcoal cooking stove, charcoal is what they use. Check out by googling the great and simple work some MIT students did in creating charcoal biscuits using grasses and sugar cane harvest left overs especially for Haiti.
Yep then there is the governamental red tape – but all in all it is worth doing. Even if you just go and do volunteer work with an existing agency or put together the design and materials with a local church group that is sending folks whose headquarters can cut the red tape.

Darrell Kreimeyer Springfield, MO - January 15, 2010 Reply

This would seem to be a two-stage problem…temp housing until a more stable building is available. Start with the simple yurt, and then bring in shipping containers. With the possibility of after-shocks, I wouldn’t think anything permenant would be wise for a time.

Arlos - January 15, 2010 Reply

You have to define temporary in the caribbean, Few homes are build of wood because you have not seen wood eating insect until you’ve lived in the tropics. In a few months, hurricane season begins and tents become another problem. With Haiti’s economy in the dumper to begin with and now it’s going to be the true back story.
I’ve lived and worked in the caribbean (BVI) and right now, more than anything else, clean water is needed and food. Next is sanitation and health care before food. The one thing you can be sure of in the caribbean, you won’t freeze to death sleeping out at night. Now malaria, denge fever, TB and more are going to rise
Getting materials onto an island is not as simple as sending a parcel off at UPS. Unless tariffs are suspended on imports, a long and frustrating wait can be expected. Theft and corruption begin at dockside, it’s a fact of life and in part, a big part of Haiti’s problems. Many inter island ships are in such poor condition to begin with, I would suspect crane services and docks are damaged beyond repair at the moment, making distribution next to impossible not mention roads for in island transportation including the many bridges that may be damaged and impassable. I can’t imagine the runways are in any better condition.
There are few companies world wide that can handle something with this kind of a challenge. As much as I hate to bring up the name, Haliburton is one of the few with logistics capable of molilizing to meet the task.
When the brits sailed away from the British virgin islands and left the belonger’s to their own devices, the island became denuded as charcoal making was the major industry, it striped trees from the islands. In this regards, algae grown and used to treat waste water can be used to make biomass for methane or pelletized and used as animal food or fuel. It grows much faster than wood. Daily use of charcoal has striped haiti mountains of vegetation, already a national disaster before the quake.

Kent Griswold - January 15, 2010 Reply

This from Walt who is away from his computer but sent me this message to pass on to you:

I have been to Haiti in Past years and am very familiar with the problems there. There are literally thousands of empty shipping containers that represent the quickest way to solve the immediate housing problem. However, we need some inexpensive methods to shade these units as they rapidly turn into ovens in direct sunlight. Lets hear some ideas from your readers. I have some ideas that will work, but am in the field filming a movie right now. I’ll be back in two weeks. We can easily cut windows, doors and vents into them but inexpensive shading is needed. There are many recyclable materials around shipping ports that could be used. -Walt

    Kootenaymum2three - January 15, 2010 Reply

    The future shack in the post above uses local materials to shade the unit. It looks rather odd, but seems ot do the trick. The other option is a spray on insulating material which protects from heat and cold.

Jennie - January 15, 2010 Reply

We are looking into the feasibility and logistics of getting yurts, tipis or tents to Haiti right now for temp and more permanent shelter. Would appreciate any feedback anyone has – especially if you’ve been involved in disaster relief or are familiar with the country. Thanks!
Jennie – Colorado Yurt Company

    Arlos - January 15, 2010 Reply

    Find an NGO who has an import broker in place. Let them know what services you can provide. You most likely will have to be in-place to assist in commissioning a yurt. Many NGO, have specs for emergency housing and getting into their systems is not as easy as a phone call.
    Bare in mind, Haiti has ample people on the ground to receive, transport and stage materials. Going during times of unrest is not wise in the least. Robbery, rape and murder are rampant and when martial law takes over. People were arrested in thailand for bringing with them Motorola handheld two way radios because this is what drug dealers and guerilla armies use. Communication is broken and order is anything but.
    Call the American Red Cross for starters, if they answer the phone at all, be prepared for voice mail, no return phone calls or emails.
    Prepare this kind of response during times of non emergency. It is nearly impossible to enter most of these organizations when they have mobilized.

SJ Lavy - January 15, 2010 Reply

A poster said “a charcoal cooking stove, charcoal is what they use” which is quite accurate, however that is the very reason there are no trees; they’ve been used to produce charcoal, leaving the soil without root systems for surface support, making slides very common and during hurricanes, a major problem. They often cook inside in rainy weather and children, in particular suffer lung damage from the fires. This is the perfect time to introduce people to using solar cookers.

The other thing is I’ve seen a couple of references to toilets and bathrooms. Unless there have been huge changes in the past few years there is no water system to support bathrooms and toilets. Even in more populated areas there is no infrastructure to support movement of water/sewage, much less an effort to treat sewage.

Two people could teach several hundred people a day, in groups, to use a bucket toilet and composting system. Two 5 gal buckets/family and a push-on seat would be the total materials outlay for the toilet system; hopefully one could find material locally for compost-pile containment. Some of the ‘trash’ (resultant from the earthquake) actually could be so used. Ideally at a later date more information could be provided on gardening (of which I saw very little except in very isolated places) and using the compost effectively, improving greatly on diets/nutrition.

As to using the bucket/compost system, it is a far cry from what most people had before, which in a preponderance of cases was to make a deposit anywhere off a beaten path, leaving excrement open to ranging dogs, children playing, etc, and creating major health, odor, and fly problems. Far better to keep it contained and treated as the resource it is.

CB - January 15, 2010 Reply

I’ve only recently learned about the humanitarian agency Shelterbox that delivers boxes of supplies to disaster areas. Boxes include a 10 person tent, water purifier system, stove, and a variety of other things. A friend of mine has been passing on the word about them. I think they may be affiliated with Rotary Club. But it seems like a great organization providing much needed short term help.

http://www.shelterbox.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4-YwPpIlE4

Pam DeWolfe - January 15, 2010 Reply

What are your thoughts about those vinyl clad “car covers”, with the metal frames – like they sell at Costco? They are tall, the sides can be rolled up for ventilation, can shelter a lot of people, allowing families to stay together…I think they are 170 dollars each… and could be moved easily during transitions.

Jordan L. - January 15, 2010 Reply

Just saw a site on tinyhouseblog about the “Hexayurt.” They seemed cheap and portable. Here’s the link: http://tinyhouseblog.com/yurts/the-hexayurt/

Jordan L. - January 15, 2010 Reply

http://tinyhouseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/hexayurt1.jpg
Forgot to mention: sounds like they cost $200-$500 plus $100 for water treatment system, cooking and communal composting toilet system. Says they’re set up for emergency shelter, easy set up and designed for hot weather (shows them at the Burning Man in the desert.

Santiago Campos - January 16, 2010 Reply

The country need a lot of large structures up quickly these could be used for hospitals and also for areas that many people could shelter from rains and intense sun. These later can be converted into permanent buildings. Prefab metal structure could go up quickly and can used for many years.The country need to get away from the current type of concrete construction and convert to a earthquake resistant design.Straw bale with or without metal frame might be a good choice.

Shipping containers are also very practical quick fix and should be moved on right now.

Jacky Vel - January 17, 2010 Reply

It is our experience that engaging the community members in defining and implementing their own recovery plan has huge benefits, individually and for the community as a whole. DIY self assembly housing kits allow exactly this particularly if they offer flexibility for a variety of configurations to meet an individual families need. This is the basis of our I Home product line: http://www.icologygroup.com for info.

Jacky Vel - January 17, 2010 Reply

We are seeking our “I Fund” partners to support the shipment of a number of I Homes to Haiti but more importantly, the means to manufacture them locally. Enquiries to me at jackyv@icologygroup.com please.

Denis OKeefe - January 17, 2010 Reply

Imagine the heat, the humidity and the crowded conditions that prevail in Port au Prince. Many of the shacks are built on steep hillsides which regularly slip away as the hills erode.
People are so poor they’ll never have hope of owning the land they live on.
Shipping containers would be terribly uncomfortable, probably unlivable without air conditioning, an impossibility in the best of times in Haiti. The equipment for moving the containers was destroyed in the port.
A variation of the hexayurt, with a decent overhang for the rains, ventilated sides and the reflective roof may be an option. Can the roof material stand up to the rains?
Clean water is hard to come by, there were some filter bottles advertised on this site and shown a TED that would be a big help but they are expensive.
Sewage runs in the streets, some kind of cheap composting toilet system would be a godsend.

Bob Bernstein - January 17, 2010 Reply

In the short term we have two problems; providing basic shelter and clearing rubble. This could be solved by creating houses out of Gabion Baskets. Gabion Baskets are rectangular wire mesh baskets that fold flat for transportation and are then assembled on site and filled with rocks. Their typical dimensions are 3′ wide, 3′ high, and 6′ to 12′ long. They are most often used for creating retaining walls and lining river banks, but recently I have seen them used in buildings. Gabion Baskets could be shipped to Haiti (in shipping containers that could also be used for shelter), then assembled and filled with the rubble from collapsed buildings (rocks, masonry, concrete). Stacked two high the gabion baskets will create a 6′ high exterior wall at the perimeter of a house. Once the exterior walls are in place the house could then be roofed with salvaged corrugated metal. The advantages of this system are that: it requires a minimum of construction material to be shipped to Haiti, it requires a minimum level of skill to construct so everyone can pitch in, it recycles the rubble from collapsed buildings clearing land and minimizing cost, and it has the mass to withstand the hurricane season. Ventilation and shading would need to be taken into consideration so that these shelters don’t become sweat boxes, but from the photos posted with this blog it looks like the Haitians build masonry houses with metal roofs so I beleive this system can be adapted to the local climate.

Arlos - January 17, 2010 Reply

I remember unloading a 40 ft container in Dec ’93 in the British Virgin Islands while building several desalination plants there and the worse problem was heat exhaustion. You couldn’t stay inside with both doors open for more than a few minutes. The connex boxes that typically go to the tropics are plated for the marine environment. These cannot be moved at all to remote locations other than by air, especially the 40’er’s where roads are steep, turns are sharp and little to hold the edge of the road up if at all. One of the last things a disaster needs is a mass migration of a rural population to an urban center with little to no infrastructure. People will stay where life is familiar and placing our cultural approach generally doesn’t work.
What I haven’t heard and maybe someone can add this is, exactly what housing needs do Haitians need and want at this moment.
Right now, the time line is heading towards a week since the quake, many are still trapped, many injured and more will die from untreated wounds and these in turn will become a disease vector. A flight one day kept me over in san juan PR where a murder had taken place on the sidewalk in front of the airport. during the time I was waiting for a flight to Tortola, The body swelled under the blanket waiting for a coroner to arrive.
During the aftermath of the 1989 quake here in Santa Cruz county, CA, a Canadian company had sent large semi rigid tents large enough to house emergency services but also to relocate many small business’s that had lost their locations.
The world has been through enough disasters where there exist ample emergency housing, people and organizations that hit the ground running.

Catt - January 17, 2010 Reply

I think the idea of getting temporary shelter to Haitians is crucial. Perhaps the focus could be on getting temporary shelters big enough to house multiple families now. Then these buildings could transition into community centers or commerce centers as individual homes could be built.

Eda - January 18, 2010 Reply

The initial needs are critical: food, water, medical. There are already a lot of groups moving to provide these and need your support.

Then long term developments.

I know cooking and sanitation have already been brought up.
Alternative Gifts International is already working in Haiti helping people transform garbage into briquettes for cook stoves, this helps clean the city, provide jobs, prevents deforestation, and is cheaper burning than charcoal. More information here: http://www.haitiinnovation.org/en/2009/12/18/haiti-turning-garbage-energy You can help by making a donation here: http://www.alternativegifts.org/projects/project34

I’m trying to find an NGO working with waterless toilet development in Haiti, anyone know of one?

Eda

Outis - January 19, 2010 Reply

Hello all

Over the past couple of years I have been developing a hard shell version of the hexayurt. For simplicity I have posted it to my blog. All comments are welcome. Other concerns have been brought up about Charcoal, mudslides and food production. Here are some links that might help

Modified Hexayurt
http://outis-reallyimnobody.blogspot.com/2010/01/hexayurt.html

Charcoal
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/07/17/haiti.sugarenergy/index.html

Rice
http://ciifad.cornell.edu/sri/

Mudslides
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-5145-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

    Steve Forbes - April 3, 2010 Reply

    Re: 1/19/10 posting with CNN article regarding energy briquettes. The information is better placed into perspective by reading the preceding link by Eda dated 1/18/10 with Clinton explaining the tecnology. I just returned from Haiti and where we did a demostration about the briquettes, which the Haitians are familiar with (abeit small scale). While the sugar cane husks are good as long as dried well, the paper works well too when mixed with saw dust… not sure why the reported MIT lab results were poor.

gabrielle.bryen - January 19, 2010 Reply

I am in the military and when we stage in Kuwait we use large plastic covered quonset huts. They have wood floors and heating and air and can easily be adapted to house multiple families. While they aren’t suited for the long term, they are plenty comfortable and can also be used as treatment facilities. The plastic fits over metal spans and could eventually be replaced with either wood or adobe or earthbag. I have seen them adapted with windows and also with flues. They aren’t perfect but go up quickly and cheaply. At the largest capacity, they can sleep about 200 soldiers comfortably.

    Kent Griswold - January 19, 2010 Reply

    Hi Gabrielle – thanks for the info on the plastic covered quonset huts. You would think the U.S. would have these available for emergencies. It would be interesting to find out who makes them for the military. I’ll do a little research.

      gabrielle.bryen - January 22, 2010 Reply

      Hi Kent:

      I’ve actually looked for the plastic covered quonsets myself. They are pretty comfortable. I’m not sure if they are actually in our inventory or belong to KBR (Kellogg, Brown& Root). They are found at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. When I checked the web, I found lots of descriptions but no manufacturer. I was worng, apparently they are covered with rubberized canvas, not plastic.

Malcolm White - January 20, 2010 Reply

I have been doing some research off and on for the last year on simple housing solutions for both homelessness here in the US as well as for disaster recovery. I have some designs in mind that could meet the needs in Haiti. I have some comments, observations and questions.

It seems like a housing solution that is multi-story might be needed for densely populated areas. Does that seem to be the case in Haiti or would single level housing provide enough of a solution?

Who is it that owns the property and the demolished buildings that were on them? Are we talking government agencies or perhaps slum lords?

What kind of construction skills are we likely to find in Haiti to help with local construction?

Since a lot of the construction in Haiti has used concrete or masonry in the past does this mean that Portland Cement is available and maybe already in country for making new structures? It seems to me that thin-shell re-enforced concrete panels might be one way to build. I am picturing a ferrocement type of construction with a wire mesh that is plastered to a thickness of perhaps 1-1/2″ to 2″ by locals. The idea would be to supply some sort of prefab framework and wire mesh along with basic plaster tools to mix and apply the coating.

I am especially interested in yurt shaped structures and simple polygons like hexagons and octagons. I am also familiar enough with geodesic or dome shapes to know how to work with them. I also am very familiar with pre-fab techniques – especially for wood frame structures. Take a look at the blog that I recently started:

DIY-Prefab.com

I would like to talk with anyone that is interested in partnering in any reasonable way to provide simple housing solutions. I can be reached at:

malconium@comcast.net

Mark Meynig - January 21, 2010 Reply

http://www.elitebuildings.com/products-services/container-solutions

Many container floorplans available for housing, toilet and shower units, we also have self contained remote power stations with wind turbines and solar panels.

Elizabeth Goertz - January 22, 2010 Reply

It seems to me that there are a lot of needs that fall into time slots, first, what is needed now, like water, food, basic shelter and medical care. Next, temporary housing, water catchment or desalinization equipment, and a reliable distribution network for food and other supplies. And finally long term housing, water resorce mannegment,Composting,gardening and farming education. Also disease controle, vacsines, anti biotics, BUG NETS! and condomes.
a few people on the ground could teach and train people to help them selves and their comunities.
composting human wast can be a great help in many ways, but done wrong spreads hepititous and other diseases.
I think this group should concentraite its efforts into the last slot, many of the Emergency agencies will be pulling out by then, but hopefully there will be better supply lines and transpertation by then. I for one would be willing to go, if some one else will fund it.

Stewart - January 31, 2010 Reply

I think you need to look at the solutions to the problems found in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. They have the answers to the problems,I believe they still have the problems. What about blow up concrete tents that you just hose with water?

Elizabeth Goertz - February 19, 2010 Reply

Could you please update us with what, if anything this community is doing for Haiti? Did Colorado yurts ever get more tents out?

Sam Kigar - March 4, 2010 Reply

Hi– i’m with Colorado Yurt CO– we are sending 8 tents tomorrow. 4 are going with the Colorado Haiti Project and 4 are going with Partners in Health. We’re sending them whether we cover our costs or not, but we’d sure like a bit of help. if you want to help and you want a tax-deduction, find out how here: info.coloradoyurt.com any amount helps!

Jam Reyes - March 28, 2010 Reply

i have several relatives who were also vicitimized by the earthquake in Haiti. thank God that they were not seriously hurt. i hope and pray that Haiti would be able to recover soon from this disaster.

Steve Forbes - April 3, 2010 Reply

I am trying to build a data base addressing shelter, WatSan/WASH, food and energy for Haiti (and developing countries in general). Can you provide the link you mention regarding quounset huts. Can it be forwarded to my email? Thanks

Cyril Smith - April 21, 2010 Reply

some of my friends who work in haiti were also victimized by that terrible earthquake. i was very thankful that they only suffered minor scratches.

RogerARTdotCOM - April 29, 2010 Reply

EARTHBALL – HOMES and GREEN-HOSES 4 HAITI – NOW READY TO GO – NOW – SEE http://www.EarthBall.org We Need Help Getting this ROUND HOMES and GREEHOUSES way of life 2 HAITI – Ideas ??? contact us – or PEOPLE of HATIE – steal this idea – IT IS FREE 4 the take-ing/copy-ing, Peace, Love and Later, Roger Need Help cotact us 24/7/365/plus/leap year…

Gracie - August 18, 2011 Reply

Where do things stand in Haiti today? Have any of the above mentioned ideas or products been implemented? For several weeks after this tragedy we heard updates daily if not hourly. More recently there has been almost nothing in the media. Is anyone from the group on the ground in Haiti, and if so, could you give an update of the situation and what is being accomplished?

Matthew Pang - March 9, 2012 Reply

We are building wood portable Knock down home from Indonesia , Malaysia and Mynmar and can be assemble within 6 hour by home owner itself .

Leave a Reply: