Saturday, December 03, 2005

Igloos could save lives

From a reader (edited):

140,000 people are stranded above the snowline in the Pakistani Himalayan Mountains without access to shelter and 2.7 million are without shelter. Snow may fall anytime and trap hundreds of thousands who will freeze to death.
Aid workers say that the first significant snow of the winter is [will expose] millions of homeless people to the threat of hunger and hypothermia.

Here is a true Innovative Emergency Shelter for Quake Survivors. It has been time-tested in frigid winters, costs nothing to build, and the recipe can be quickly given to a million or more people at a time.

Igloos of snow cost nothing and would give every family a cozy and relatively warm, sturdy place to live immediately and are practical for extreme conditions.

The igloo floors could be laid from concrete and stone debris and would act to store the tiny inside fire's heat to warm the freezing nights. These Inuit and Eskimo traditional techniques would definitely work well and would risk no one's life from heavy building materials falling due to hasty construction by first-time builders.
I propose that millions of simple lightweight instructional leaflets be printed immediately in native languages with drawings from the websites listed below. The leaflets and other bundles can be airdropped over survivor's camps for access to ancient forgotten tribal techniques of living in frigid snowy climes. Your bilingual workers would need to translate the package of instructions for igloo building technology.

Please look up the following web sites for pictures and descriptions of how to build igloos:


"After the key block has been inserted the hut is tightly sealed and a lamp is kindled inside. The heated air, having no exit, begins to melt the face of the snow blocks, which rapidly congreals again on admission of cold air from the outside. Ths each snow block is firmly cemented in place and converted to ice on its inner face. Occupation for a few days then gradually changes the interiors of the blocks, so that the structure is no longer a snow house but a house of ice. The transformation gives it remarkable stability; a man can stand on the summit without causing collapse, and half the house can be destroyed without destroying the other half. Consequently by building a series of intersecting domes and omitting or opening up the common egments, an Eskimo can enlarge a small circular hut capable of housing only 1 or 2 families into a community dwelling of 3, 4 or 5 rooms that will house 15 or 20 people."

" would take their snow knife and go to their prepared snow field. Once there, starting from the edge they start cutting snow blocks. The packed snow had hardened from the combination of stomp packing and freezing.

Since smaller helicopters can only carry about 165 lbs. in the thin air of the Himalayas, larger military planes would be needed to drop these supplies. I recommend water cans, water purification tablets, dried foodstuffs, long barbecue lighters and machetes (as snow knives) to cut snow blocks. Waste wooden building materials could be split with the machete also and used to produce heat inside the igloos. Also sheets, woolen and space blankets would be vital as the temperature would be about 33 degrees inside the igloo.

James D. Peck
Please respond with e-mail or call me at (1)(978)546-5217 to let me know how the plan worked out if you move forward with it. I will try to be available if you have questions.
3 Comments Post a Comment
Blogger Jeevan said :

Very informative blog, Nice to hear that our people are getting good tempereary house.

December 04, 2005 2:31 am  
Blogger aqua4 said :

Nice blog. I would never have thought of an igloo. That was a bit beyond me.

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December 06, 2005 5:29 am  
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February 13, 2006 11:49 pm