Rebuilding for a better urban future

The official blog of UN-Habitat's response to Typhoon Haiyan

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Shelter Assessment Begins in Iloilo and Capiz

UN-Habitat technical team inspecting existing house and site conditions in Pontevedra, Capiz. Photo by Beryl Jane Dela Cruz.

UN-Habitat technical team inspecting existing house and site conditions in Pontevedra, Capiz. Photos by Beryl Jane Dela Cruz.

Since 18 June, UN-Habitat has been conducting technical surveys in potential beneficiary communities of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements Project across Western Visayas.

The team of shelter experts, architects, and community mobilizers visited residential lots acquired under the Community Mortgage Program to inspect the current conditions of the damaged houses, gather information on land tenure, and assess the state of sanitation. The assessment uses  a tool kit detailing the damage and reconstruction requirements of each house.

UN-Habitat technical team verifying the location of the houses on the map with community members. Photo by Beryl Jane Dela Cruz.

UN-Habitat technical team verifying the location of the houses on the map with community members. Photo by Beryl Jane Dela Cruz.

To further determine a beneficiary’s eligibility, UN-Habitat evaluated each household’s capacity to recover from typhoon impacts. UN-Habitat closely collaborated with leaders and members of home owners’ associations in validating data gathered from the household profiling done in April 2014.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the shelter project is also a partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).


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INFOGRAPHIC: Six months after Typhoon Haiyan

The Philippines Shelter Cluster launched an infographic breaking down past progress and existing needs six months after Typhoon Haiyan.

Shelter_Cluster_Haiyan_Infographic 6 months FINAL

View the full size here

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FROM THE FIELD: An update on Roxas from Chrispine Ojiambo

In Roxas, the shelter situation for families affected by Typhoon Haiyan remains critical. And it is likely to worsen with the coming rainy season, as many houses are traditional light-weight structures built from bamboo in a non-engineered fashion.

UN-Habitat finished initial shelter assessments and came to the conclusion that a significant number of houses received minor, and substandard support in repairing. However, many houses still remain in the same state as after being destroyed by the Typhoon.

Roxas_chrispine1Mr. Chrispine Ojiambo, who was seconded to UN-Habitat by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NORCAP) to work on shelter issues in Roxas City, brings new light on the current state of shelter for affected families in this personal account:

My support to UN-Habitat, and its partners like Social Housing Finance Corporation SHFC has been to work diligently with project team and home owners associations in setting up the base to support poor families rebuild safer homes in our upcoming shelter recovery project, through tasks like familiarizing community association leaders on project scope and their role during implementation. Throughout this project phase we have worked in close coordination with shelter cluster–IV, to ensure that our project abide to shelter cluster guidelines, better resource distribution to beneficiaries by cluster stakeholders, among others. We have also worked in close collaboration with Roxas City housing department in sharing information to ensure our support reach deserving beneficiaries. At the moment we are also engaged in discussion with United Architects of Philippines – Capiz chapter seeking for technical collaborations in our shelter design and other technical input that relates to post Haiyan shelter reconstruction.


Mr. Ojiambo adds that he is whole heartedly touched by the suffering brought by the Typhoon, and concludes:

In contrast, I am happy to be part of the UN–Habitat’s team that is working hard to provide safe shelter solutions, and passing on technical knowledge to communities in order to improve their understanding of safe and better shelter reconstruction aimed at increasing community resilience to disasters. For this I thank UN–Habitat and Norwegian Refugee Council (NORCAP) for having me as part of the team implementing this noble course.

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LIVE FROM TACLOBAN: Public Forum on Tacloban’s Draft Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan

“It’s time to converge and think about a sustainable Tacloban.”
– Laids Cea, UN-Habitat Project Coordinator

Today, the draft Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan will be presented to the public.  All stakeholders and those interested are invited to attend.  Details are as follows:

Venue: Tacloban Astrodome

Speakers: City Mayor Hon. Alfred Romualdez, local government officers from Tacloban, and UN Habitat

Expected attendees: National government representatives, humanitarian organizations, city and barangay officials,members of the private sector, academe, and Taclobanons in general

Special thanks to: ARCADIS and ASSURE groups for assisting in the development of the plan.  This project is also made possible by funding from UNDP.

We’ll be providing live updates, photos and tweets throughout the event. Stay tuned, and let’s start looking to the future, recovery, and sustainable development!

Click here to see our ongoing tweets and photos from the public forum via Storify


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VIDEO: Training local carpenters to build disaster resilient shelters

Rebuilding after disaster is a crucial period in which communities can reinforce their shelters and prepare for future risk. But in many cases, without sufficient funds, skills and experience, self-recovery methods often turn towards ‘building back worse’.

After Typhoon Haiyan, communities began to quickly rebuild their homes with limited skills and know-how of disaster risk reduction construction methods. In order to strengthen guidance on affordable and safer shelter, UN-Habitat in partnership with Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), and Iloilo People’s Habitat Foundations Inc. (IPHF), conducted a 3-day workshop for 58 carpenters and masons from 32 communities in Roxas on “Practical and Affordable Disaster Risk Reduction Measures for Self-builders”.

See related article: Building skills to rebuild communities

Update: See a letter of appreciation from the Social Housing Finance Corporation to UN-Habitat

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100 days after Typhoon Haiyan

100 days after Typhoon Haiyan, there’s been progress to celebrate, but still much more to be done.


During the first 100 days of the response Shelter Cluster partners have provided close to 500,000 households (2.5 million people) with emergency shelter assistance such as tents and tarpaulins. More than 55,000 households (285,000 people) have received tools, building and roofing materials that enables families to repair their own homes. 40,000 families have received cash with which they can buy building materials and pay labourers. In addition, 2,000 families (10,000 people) have received “core shelters” – these are complete, simple houses of approximately 20 m2 that can be extended by the families.

Despite these achievements, affected areas are still in a shelter emergency: on average, the Philippines is hit by 20 major storms per year. This year, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan have already faced two named storms which damaged and destroyed up to 30 per cent of emergency shelters in their paths. The Shelter Cluster anticipates that more emergency shelter materials will have to be replaced over the coming months.

The vast majority of people in need of shelter assistance don’t have a durable roofing solution yet and it is clear that many families will still be living under tarps, leaking and unstable roofs or in tents when the next typhoon season starts.

Shelter self-recovery is taking place at an impressive rate. However, many houses are being “built back worse” with the same vulnerabilities as before. To mitigate this, Shelter Cluster partners are providing the survivors with hands-on training and assistance to facilitate a progressive “build back safer” approach.


Read the full text here