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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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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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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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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Estancia pledges support to UN-Habitat shelter recovery project

UN Habitat, together with its partner, Hilti Foundation, recently held a meeting with the town administrators of Estancia to discuss the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlement Project, which identified a potential beneficiary community in Poblacion Zone 1 of the municipality.

Project Manager, Mr. Robert Deutsch, introduced UN Habitat’s plan of constructing typhoon-resistant houses for over 600 families in various parts of Western Visayas that were devastated by Yolanda. He also added that the project would also cover the training of local skilled workers on building robust shelters and the repair and improvement of key community infrastructures.  

Ms. Nerissa Piamonte discussed the integration of Hilti Foundation’s bamboo shelter model into the core house design. The organization strongly advocates the optimization of locally available and sustainable construction materials.

Standing in for Mayor Rene Cordero, the executive administrators, Ms. Ninfa Nacionales and Ms. Lina Acosta, expressed their gratitude to UN Habitat and Hilti Foundation, and assured that the municipal government will provide technical assistance wherever possible. Also present was Municipal Planning & Development Coordinator, Mr. Eugene Tentativa, Ms. Maria Socorro D. Ignacio (UN Habitat), and Ms. Ruby Rose Robas (Hilti Foundation).

Other potential beneficiary sites that were identified so far, in consultation with the Social Housing Finance Corporation, include Brgys. Guba, Ilawod, and Tacas in Pontevedra; Brgys. Bato, Baybay, Punta Tabuc, Tiza in Roxas City; and Brgy. Tanza Norte of Panay.

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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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Roxas: Building skills to rebuild communities

Carpenters from Roxas learn practical and affordable measures in building back better, safer shelter constructions. Photo by Ilija Gubic

While the national and international assistance supports the relief by distributing shelter emergency kits, running emergency centres and setting up transitional shelters, the affected population rebuild their homes, in most cases, without sufficient funds, skills and experience.

Some families lack the resources to obtain good construction materials, and hardly have the means to engage skilled carpenters or masons to carry out the construction. Carpenters sometimes only have limited skills and are often lacking know-how and experience on disaster risk reduction requirements. Without proper guidance on practical and affordable safe construction, the self-recovery often turns towards building back worse.

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”.

The workshop introduced several technical options that could be applied on various types of shelters using different materials such as timber, bamboo, or industrialized products like concrete, hollow cement blocks, and CGI sheets.

Participants actively engaged in discussions, visual assessments of damaged houses in neighbouring communities and in the “hands-on” exercises supporting each other in learning how to use locally available and affordable materials such as bamboo.

At the end of the 3-day workshop, Mr. Dante Madello, Mayor of Panay, congratulated UN-Habitat and partners on this successfully conducted event, and requested UN-Habitat to further support carpenters and masons in Roxas on building back better and safer shelters.

See more photos from the workshop: photo gallery

Watch a video of the training workshop in action: on Youtube

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