A storm surge caused by Typhoon Haiywan washes a large ship inland, ploughing through many homes and communities in its path. Photo by Irwin Gabriel Lopez.

A storm surge caused by Typhoon Haiywan washes a large ship inland, ploughing through many homes and communities in its path. Photo by Irwin Gabriel Lopez.

UN-Habitat Philippines is responsive to disasters impacting the country. As a part of the United Nations humanitarian country team, UN-Habitat deploys personnel within hours of a disaster to conduct rapid impact assessments and meet with government departments and United Nations agencies.

Its focus is both on securing immediate emergency shelter, as well as supporting communities to build back better and safer. UN-Habitat Philippines provides advisory services in recovery planning to local government units and manages shelter and community infrastructure construction projects in partnership with government agencies and donors. UN-Habitat’s most recent shelter program was in response to super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda).


Post- Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements

ON 8 NOVEMBER 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) battered the Visayas with wind speeds of more than 300 kilometers per hour and storm surge over four meters high. After eight landfalls, over 550,900 houses were totally damaged and 589,404 were partially damaged, affecting 1.47 million families in 14 provinces throughout the Philippines. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 130,688 households in Capiz and 153,480 in Iloilo were affected.

UN-Habitat launched the Post- Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements project in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo through a USD 2.5 million grant from the Government of Japan in July 2014. The primary goal of the project was to capacitate Yolanda-affected communities as well as local governments in rebuilding homes and communities through a community-driven approach called the People’s Process. The process is hinged on self-recovery of shelter and community facilities and on strengthening the community’s technical capacities. Another goal of the project was to advocate and promote the concept of “build back better and safer” for shelter and community facilities. Under the People’s Process, the community led and managed the project with technical assistance and monitoring from UN-Habitat.

The project was implemented through community contracting with legally organized homeowners associations (HOAs). Such an approach has been successfully implemented in other countries, notably in Indonesia, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The People’s Process is designed to help improve the capacity of HOAs and their members to manage the project itself, the project finances, and the development of their own organization. This approach enables them to showcase their own creativity and ingenuity since they play pivotal roles in their own recovery and rehabilitation. It establishes trust and promotes a sense of ownership on the part of the community.

UN-Habitat also collaborated with various partners in enabling communities to work towards a path to resilience. It was vital to work with local actors so that the communities continued to keep strong and sustainable relationships with local partners even after UN-Habitat‘s technical support and presence under the project ended. UN-Habitat set specific targets for providing permanent shelters, developing community infrastructure, and conducting various skills- training sessions for the community and barangay (district or village administration) members.


Project Process involved 13 components:

  1. Selection of partner communities
  2. Community damage assessment and mapping
  3. Formation of the UN-Habitat project team
  4. Community orientation on project parameters and people’s process
  5. Community action planning
  6. Design development of permanent core shelters and community infrastructure
  7. In-depth individual house and family assessments
  8. Community contracting
  9. Project implementation, including both community strengthening interventions and shelter and infrastructure construction
  10. Partnership building
  11. Shelter and community infrastructure turnover
  12. Monitoring and Evaluation including construction monitoring, toolbox meetings, community reporting, family journaling and financial monitoring.
  13. Final turnover activities


Project Accomplishments

Target 1: Accelerated recovery for 20 target communities
Actual Output: Accelerated recovery of 28 communities

Target 2: 610 households in Capiz and Iloilo to have access to resilient shelter
Actual Output: 660 households in Capiz and Iloilo were provided resilient shelter

Target 3: 250 semi-skilled artisans receive training to upgrade their construction and DRR skills
Actual Output: 323 semi-skilled artisans received training to upgrade their construction and DRR skills

Target 4: 20 communities will have improved community facilities
Actual Output: 28 communities have 54 improved community facilities

Target 5: 4,000 household in 32 communities will benefit from the trained artisans and enhance DRR knowhow
Actual Output: 4,594 households were assessed by the House Assessment Guiders (HAGs)

Target 6: Increased awareness for building back better safer at national and local level
Actual Output: Increased awareness for building back better safer at national and local level


Project Impacts

  • The emergence of a cohesive community partnership
  • Raising awareness through public-private partnership
  • Families rising from the slums
  • Financial management through transparent leadership
  • Creating ripples: capacity building through teaching disaster and risk reduction techniques
  • Additional community infrastructure through construction management
  • Communities on the rise through empowerment



  • Government of Japan
  • Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
  • Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)
  • Social Housing and Finance Corporation (SHFC)
  • 28 Homeowners Association under SHFC’s Community Mortgage Program
  • Local Government units (LGUs) of Roxas, Panay, and Pontevedra (Capiz Province) and Estancia (Iloilo Province)
  • United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) – Capiz Chapter
  • Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) – Capiz Chapter
  • Base Bahay, Inc.
  • BDO Foundation, Inc.