Rebuilding for a better urban future

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


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UN-Habitat Core Houses Served as Emergency Shelter During Typhoon Hagupit

Children already “playing house” in their future homes.

Children already “playing house” in their future homes.

They all slept well. That was the first thing heard from many in the community when UN-Habitat Roxas field team visited their project sites one day after Typhoon Hagupit (known locally as Ruby) passed north of the island of Panay on Sunday, 7 December, barely over a year since Haiyan devastated the region.

Nearly 90 houses built under the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements, a project by UN-Habitat and the Japanese and Philippine governments,served as emergency shelters, housing two to three families at times, protecting Continue reading


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The Long Road to Re-establishing Roots


UN-Habitat and partners share learnings with Sendong’s internally displaced people

Last September 30, a team of homeowners’ association (HOA) officers and community mobilizers under the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) Community Mortgage Programme(CMP) in Cagayan de Oro (CdeO) flew to Roxas City for a learning event conducted by UN-Habitat. The two-day activity was aimed at priming the HOAs in their adoption of a community-driven post-disaster shelter recovery.

People’s Process
Thirteen HOA officers and three community mobilizers from various CdeO-based NGOs were taught on the “People’s Process”, which is the driving principle behind the recently launched Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements Project being implemented in in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo, particularly in the municipalities of Estancia, Panay, and Pontevedra and in Roxas City.

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Launched: Pilot House of Shelter Project in Roxas

With tremendous support from Japan, UN-Habitat and partners roll out the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements project with the first completed corehouse in Roxas City, Philippines.

The morning culminated with the ribbon cutting of the pilot house. Photo: UN-Habitat

Inaugural house awaits its new owner. Photo: UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat Philippines, together with the Government of Japan, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), launched the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlement project on the sweltering morning of 7 August 2014, at the Don Conrado Barrios Memorial School Covered Court, Villa Carmel Village, Barangay Baybay, Roxas City in Capiz.

Emelia Doriendes (center) eagerly awaits ceremonial handing of the house key after ribbon cutting. Photo: UN-Habitat

Emelia Doriendes (center) eagerly awaits ceremonial handing of the house key after ribbon cutting. Photo: UN-Habitat

The project, with financial support worth $2.5 million from the Government of Japan, is designed to accomplish the following by end of this year to early next year:

  • Training of approximately 250 local semi-skilled artisans in disaster risk resilient housing construction
  • Construction of 610 corehouses by these local trained artisans for families throughout communities in the Visayan provinces of Capiz and Iloilo who were left homeless or whose houses were hazardous to live in after Typhoon Haiyan
  • Training of 4,000 families in the beneficiary communities on house assessment under the principles of disaster risk reduction
  • Support for a national campaign with SHFC and other government agencies on disaster-resilient housing techniques
  • Information, education, communication materials for national advocacy on people’s process for recovery and rehabilitation
  • Community action planning workshops
  • Infrastructure support for 20 communities.

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Philippine Bamboo Tapped for Innovative Resilient Housing

A warehouse for prefabricating bamboo wall panels. All photos

A warehouse for prefabricating bamboo wall panels. Photos by Tomoko Matsushita.

Four representatives from Samahang Urban ng Maralitang Mamamayan (SUMAMA, Local Association of Urban Poor Communities) – Home Owners Association Inc. (HOAI) in Estancia travelled to Iloilo City with the UN-Habitat team on 10 July to see a model typhoon-resistant shelter built from bamboo.

The Hilti Foundation, a European charitable foundation specializing in housing, has been studying and testing the bamboo design since 2012. UN-Habitat will be working in partnership with the Hilti Foundation in Estancia to provide single-story houses built with a bamboo truss roof and reinforced bamboo wall panels covered with cement plaster.

After visiting the bamboo model house and a brief introduction of the Hilti Foundation and its local counterpart, the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, the SUMAMA HOAI group toured the on-site workshop and warehouse where workers were assembling reinforced bamboo panels in various configurations for walls with windows or doors.

Two-story model of bamboo house by Hilti Foundation in Iloilo.

Two-story model of bamboo house by Hilti Foundation in Iloilo

Interior view of hefty bamboo roof truss

Interior view of hefty bamboo roof truss


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Women in Panay Actively Step Up in Their Own Rehabilitation

UN-Habitat Community Mobilizing & Training Officer Maria Elvira Borlagdan Duka explains the beneficiary selection criteria and the people-centered process of housing reconstruction by UN-Habitat.

UN-Habitat Community Mobilizing & Training Officer Maria Elvira Borlagdan Duka explains the beneficiary selection criteria and the people-centered process of housing reconstruction by UN-Habitat. Photos by Tomoko Matsushita.

On 9 July, UN-Habitat community organizers met with the Home Owners’ Association Inc. (HOAI) members of Pawa in the municipality of Panay, Capiz. In this coastal community, majority of the men are out at sea where their work and livelihoods are based. As a result, 90% of those who attended the meeting were women.

In the meeting, community members were briefed on their new role as UN-Habitat partners and the organization’s upcoming projects designed to help rehabilitate Haiyan-affected areas. More importantly, criteria for becoming beneficiaries of UN-Habitat shelter projects were discussed in detail, and families were urged to complete and submit information sheets that were handed out if they felt that they met the criteria.

The meeting also discussed upcoming training sessions on construction methods that promoted structural resilience and building back safer homes, targeting local masons and carpenters. The women, however, eagerly spoke up, saying that they wanted to be trained as well, since most of the men would be at sea during the day. They were happily welcomed and encouraged to apply as trainees.


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On-site Assessments in Capiz for Potential Shelter Project Beneficiaries

Rogie Alcazaren and family and the remnants of their home—in which they still reside.

Rogie Alcazaren and family and the remnants of their home—in which they still reside.

On 20 and 23 June, technical assessments were conducted in Belle Village HOAI (Home Owners’ Association Inc.) community in the municipality of Pontevedra, Capiz.  Ninety-five households submitted applications for  reconstruction assistance.  UN-Habitat technical team visited each household to assess the extent of the damage, to check lot boundaries, and to interview the applicants about their current living conditions. While some applicants temporarily live with relatives outside the community, many continue to live in their damaged homes after having done some repairs themselves with salvaged materials. Many of these  repaired houses had not been built back safer and were found to be unsafe and unlikely to withstand future typhoons. In the case of Rogie Alcazaren in Belle Village III, his house was heavily damaged. Despite that, his family (with seven children) had no other option but to continue residing under their now slanted roof and whatever else was left of their house.

Unable to remove the coconut tree trunk that struck their house during Typhoon Haiyan, a doughnut seller and his son continue to live in perilous conditions and are potential project beneficiaries.

Unable to remove the coconut tree trunk that struck their house during Typhoon Haiyan, a doughnut seller and his son continue to live in perilous conditions and are potential project beneficiaries.

Ms. Alcazaren in a makeshift kitchen with a half-exposed wall on one side and a slanted roof overhead.

Ms. Alcazaren in a makeshift kitchen with a half-exposed wall on one side and a slanted roof overhead.

In Belle Village II, due to its low-lying location and lack of proper community infrastructure, footpaths to the houses are swampy, substantially compromising mobility for people. Improvement of community infrastructure such as drainages and paving the common foot path were identified as urgent issues.

Swampy footpaths  in Belle Village II, Pontevedra, compromise the mobility of people and the expedient delivery of goods and services. Photo by Edver Francisco.

Swampy footpaths in Belle Village II, Pontevedra, compromise the mobility of people and the expedient delivery of goods and services. Photo by Edver Francisco.

So far, out of 2,430 families in 20 HOAI communities from 10 Barangays in Capiz and Iloilo Provinces, 331 families have submitted their applications to UN-Habitat and initial technical assessment and verification of potential beneficiaries were completed at 240 sites. Work is ongoing, and follow-up visits are required to help the HOAIs prepare their final list of qualified beneficiaries.


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UN-Habitat and Local Partners Collaborate on Design for 610 Resilient Homes in Capiz

UN-Habitat Project Manager Robert Deutsch and Shelter Expert Chrispin Ojiambo at a design meeting with UAP members  Emmanuel Espino, Al Berdugo, and Edver Francisco.

UN-Habitat Project Manager Robert Deutsch and Shelter Expert Chrispin Ojiambo at a design meeting with UAP members Emmanuel Espino, Al Berdugo, and Edver Francisco.

As part of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlement Project funded by the Government of Japan, UN-Habitat will be building 610 houses in  around 30 communities in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo.  As the project operates using a community-driven approach, it also includes the training of local skilled workers on construction methods for building strong shelters, as well as the repair and improvement of key community infrastructure such as drainages.

Design of the shelters was developed in collaboration with  the Capiz chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) while the structural integrity was checked by the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines.  The design is now being finalized even as  technical site assessment and beneficiary selection are ongoing.

Study models of the wooden roof structure.

Study models of the wooden roof structure.

The house provided by UN-Habitat will be a core house—a strong and safe shelter measuring 4.2 by 5 meters which can be incrementally expanded in the future.  Its structural framework is reinforced concrete with a collar beam. The lower walls are made with hollow concrete blocks, while the upper walls are from bamboo infill panels.

The structure has a four-sided hip roof built with a single wooden truss crossing the structure diagonally and supporting other rafters. The design incorporates DRR features such as reinforced attachment of structural elements and can resist
up to 200-km/h wind loads.

3-D rendering of a typical core house shelter to be provided to the beneficiaries. Illustration by Al Berdugo.

3-D rendering of a typical core house shelter to be provided to the beneficiaries. Illustration by Al Berdugo.