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

Roxas, February 28 2014 — 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”.

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

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

Silay City’s technical working group during the climate change vulnerability assessment.

Iloilo, February 28 2014 — Twenty members of Silay City’s technical working group, led by the City Planning and Development Office and the Office of the City Administrator, continued their comprehensive analysis of vulnerability and adaptation assessment (VAA) as part of the City’s effort to mainstream climate change and disaster risk reduction to local planning.

Said workshop was conducted at Iloilo City during February 26-28, 2014, with technical support of the United National Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Philippines. The City’s exposure to changes in temperature, rainfall volume and extreme events were analysed, as well as possible impacts of climatic changes to the city’s social, economic, institutional, current land uses and environment sectors.

Matching Silay City’s historical trends and local climate weather data with average observed conditions in 1071-2000 and 2020 and 2050 climate scenarios/projections of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the technical working group identified four major hazards such as flood, rain-induced landslide sea level rise and extreme weather event such as flash flood. As the technical working group analysed their local climate data and extensively discussed the stakeholders observations of past events and associated climatic changes, they identified whirlwind (semi-tornado) as a possible hazard, although further consultation with scientists would be needed to support such observation.

Silay City’s technical working group participant during the climate change vulnerability assessment.

The VAA, as advocated by the UN-Habitat in Philippine Cities, is a methodology adopted by Silay for more effective and efficient comprehensive land administration which is reflective of area-based analysis of sectoral sensitivities to climate change such as water and sanitation, education, health services, settlements and peace and security under social development sector; bridges, power utilities, coastal roads under infrastructure development sector; informal settlers and families (ISFs) in danger areas and targeted for relocation, ISFs living in private lands with possibility of eviction, ISFs located in areas that are up for tenurial upgrading and ISFs in government property where infrastructure projects will be implemented under the land use development sector; and sensitivities of sectors such as commercial, tourism, agriculture and fisheries under the economic development sector.

Yearly, the City experiences an estimated of three to a maximum of five tropical depression/cyclones; half of these are destructive, including other weather hazards such as thunderstorm, heavy rainfall, monsoons, cold front and ITCZ. Silay City has dormant volcano (Mt. Patag) which is a potential source of earthquake.

Using the current land use plan of the City, the TWG was able to visually track which zones bear the most impacts of climate changes that would require future re-defining and which basic services and facilities need further re-adjustments, considering the identified thresholds or coping range of elements at risk in the city’s: a) built up areas, 2) industrial zones, 3) strategic fishery and agriculture development zone, 4) open space and forests.

Silay City’s technical working group during the climate change vulnerability assessment.

The exposure and sensitivity analyses were essential part in the mainstreaming process, as Silay City is also a pilot city for Achieving Sustainable Urban Development (ASUD) where a new township or an extension city has been identified as the platform to showcase climate resilient urban planning, efficient urban energy, walkability, risk-free settlements and responsive economy and finance. Silay City also envisions to securing its niche as the gateway of Negros Occidental province with its newly constructed airport of international standard. This makes it essential for the City to ensure that both spatial and multi-sectoral plans are informed of climate change towards a resilient urban development.

Silay City has a land area of about twenty one thousand seven hundred seventy two hectares (21,772 has). The City has a population of one hundred seven thousand seven hundred twenty two (107,722). It is known as the Paris of Negros with its antiquated ancestral houses. Its new leadership envisions development of a new city in the vicinity of the built up area, development of a golf course, a horse race track oval, an export processing zone, and other business and tourism-related establishments, plus a introduction of network of roads that will serve as alternate route for travelling northward & southwards. The City has just completed its rapid VAA that led to mainstreaming climate change to its shelter plan. The VAA that was undertaken by the TWG last February 26-28 was aimed at comprehensively analyzing sensitivities of all sectors and sub-sectors. Further coaching and mentoring sessions will still be done at the city to ensure comprehensive coverage of exposure and sensitivity analyses and eventual identification of hotspot barangays (with multi-hazards).


Working group during the charette. Photo: UN-Habitat/Lara de Castro

Guiuan, February 25 2014 — The municipality of Guiuan, assisted by UN-Habitat and UNDP, conducted its first major recovery and rehabilitation planning charette, paving the way for one of the hardest hit municipalities to chart its overall direction and specific strategies towards post-Haiyan development.

See related story: Guiuan: First struck by Typhoon Haiyan, again by Tropical Depression Lingling

The charette was a blend of brainstorming, workshops, and technical inputs based on local knowledge and community action. More than 75 participants—from the local government, business sector, civil society, academia and people’s organizations—tackled four “key result areas” (KRAs) that were tagged as possible entry points towards rehabilitation and recovery. The KRAs, namely Social Development, Economy, Environment, and Infrastructure, stem from UN-Habitat’s Emergency Response-Recovery-Sustainable Development Continuum. The said framework was recently named by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Recovery and Rehabilitation (OPARR) as the preferred approach in Haiyan-affected areas.

The charette participants laid out Guiuan’s pre- and post-disaster scenarios for each KRA, drawing from existing plans as well as post-disaster assessments. The context-setting exercise also built on previous activities that Guiuan and UN-Habitat jointly conducted, such as climate change and disaster risk vulnerability assessment, community action planning, and other technical inputs. It allowed the municipality to assess their present situation from the combined lens of land and water use, sectoral development, and existing and potential hazards.


Guiuan at the wake of Haiyan. Photo: UN-Habitat/Bernhard Barth

Immediately after the charette, the stakeholders organized themselves into the Guiuan Recovery, Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development Group (GRRSDG). The GRRSDG works to align current Haiyan responses with the municipality’s recovery and rehabilitation goals and targets. It aims to direct resources towards the most rational and appropriate activities, both sectorally and spatially. The municipal government leads the GRRSDG, with the local chief executive, legislative council, and UN-Habitat acting as the steering committee.

The GRRSDG generally follows the institutional structure used in the mandated local planning process. This ensures a seamless transition from rehabilitation to regular planning and development at the local level. UN-Habitat continues to support the municipality through process facilitation and technical advice, under its joint programme with UNDP.


Borongan City. Photo: UNDP/Amy Gagalac

Nine of 12 municipalities in Eastern Samar that were badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan prepared their initial plans for recovery and rehabilitation through orientation-workshops with technical support of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) under a joint programme with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

At the orientation workshop held in Borongan City in Eastern Samar from 18 – 20 February, most of the 12 municipalities were represented by their Municipal Planning and Development Coordinators (MPDCs) Officers, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Managmement, Social Welfare Development, and Health Officers. The Provincial Government of Eastern Samar was represented by different heads of offices of the province, with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO). Participating municipalities were the following: Hernani, Giporlos, Mercedes, Salcedo, Balangkayan, Gen. MacArthur, Llorente, Maydolong and Guiuan. Other badly damaged municipalities are Lawaan, Balangiga and Quinapondan.

The contents of the recovery and rehabilitation planning were contextualized around four key result areas (KRAS): 1) social, 2) environment, 3) infrastructure and 4) land use, with good governance as the overarching principle. The KRAs are consistent with the rationalized local planning principles advocated by the Department of the Interior on Local Government on multi-sectoral, inclusive and participative local planning, including the associated RPS processes involved in recovery and rehabilitation planning.

The orientation workshop on recovery and rehabilitation planning generated initial outputs such as: 1) sectoral goals; 2) success indicators to achieve the goals; 3) programs/projects/policies; 4) key activities, and 5) timelines for implementation. Guiuan, which had already undergone several of the activities in the planning process, worked further on updating and refining their outputs. The municipality also shared with other participants their experiences in rehabilitation planning. The workshop served as initial UN-Habitat and UNDP support for recovery and rehabilitation planning for Eastern Samar.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez at the helm of recovery and rehabilitation planning initiatives. Photo: UN-Habitat

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez at the helm of recovery and rehabilitation planning initiatives. Photo: UN-Habitat

The local government of Tacloban City with support from UN-Habitat and UNDP held a second planning charette to brainstorm and discuss strategies for the spatial development of Tacloban in order to address emergency, recovery, and long term rehabilitation needs.
It was the second in a series of charettes (referring to an intense period of design of planning) intended to inform the formulation of the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (TRRP) after Typhoon Haiyan. It was attended by roughly 50 representatives from the city government, national agencies, local and international humanitarian organizations operating in Tacloban, as well as urban planners and other technical professionals.

The results of the charette will serve as inputs to the development of spatial strategies and plans for key areas of the city. UN-Habitat has partnered with the Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction (ASSURE), a local group of volunteer urban planners and other technical professionals, and ARCADIS, a leading global design and engineering firm (through SHELTER – the firm’s partnership programme with UN-Habitat), to provide technical assistance to the city in the development of these plans.


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

Tacloban, February 13 2014 — 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

Manila, February 4 2014 — With much of the media focus on Typhoon Haiyan, we would like to remember those who are still living in the aftermath of the Bohol earthquake. 76,000 homes were damaged and destroyed, while 200,000 people are still living under tents and tarps nearly 3 months after the quake. The Shelter Cluster is still in need of 6.6 million USD to help address shelter needs in Bohol.


Manila, February 3 2014 — Nearly 100 days after Typhoon Haiyan, UN-Habitat has launched a desktop calendar as a reminder that every day we are working towards building a better urban future.


Desktop calendar size: 1920 x 1200

Desktop calendar size: 1024 x 768

Select your screen size to open the calendar image. Right click on the image and select ‘Set as Desktop Item’ from the menu.