Compressed Stabilized Earth Block Construction for post-Earthquake Recovery in NW Tanzania
Hollow Interlocking Compressed Stabilized Earth Block (HI CSEB) construction is a well established building technique in earthquake prone areas of India, Nepal and Iran but is not used in Tanzania in the rift valley earthquake zone. Red Tanzanian ‘murram’ soil is ideally suited to fabricate HI CSEBs using 5% cement and a manually operated hydraulic press such as that sold by the Auroville Earth Institute in Sri Lanka (shown above). Manufacture of these blocks has about 10% the CO2 emissions and 10% the energy consumption of village-fired bricks (the current construction standard in NW Tanzania). With CSEBs, no trees are cut for fuel so deforestation is reduced and the blocks are stronger than village-fired brick.
HI CSEBs have channels that allow for use of reinforcing steel to create cost effective, earthquake resistant homes. Structures made of these HI CSEBs in Nepal have withstood 7.5 intensity earthquakes with minimal damage! As blocks are made from local material with a manual machine, smallholders (once trained) can create their own building materials. With >50% of homes destroyed in NW Tanzania villages by the Sept 10, 2016 quake, this new construction material combined with the earthquake resistant design will lead to, much safer building standards in NW Tanzania using materials created by the farmers themselves.
The Kolping Society of Tanzania, which will operate the project, is a well-run national NGO that owns and operates a large elementary school, a highschool, a trade school, a large hotel and has implemented many projects to assist smallholder farmers. This excellent organization could, if adequately funded (+- $100k US) purchase multiple CSEB presses, create training courses at their trade school and introduce this robust, cost effective building technique to NW Tanzania.