mayortaclobanTacloban, March 31 2014 — On March 21st, City Mayor of Tacloban, Mr. Alfred Romualdez, and UN-Habitat representatives revealed the first iteration of the Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan to the general public. After several planning workshops, and consultation meetings co-chaired by UN-Habitat, stakeholders finally came up with a plan that envisions Tacloban as “a resilient, vibrant and livable city”.

Presenting to more than 2000 stakeholders from the business sector, academia, people’s organizations and other national and international humanitarian organizations, Mr. Romualdez said that he appreciates all the support provided by UN-Habitat, in addition to inputs from ARCADIS, and ASSURE, and funding from UNDP. The combined efforts have assisted in the development of the plan, which focuses on housing people in safer areas, requiring a city expansion.

For the immediate needs, the plan calls for more than 2200 temporary shelters for survivors that are still living in tents and evacuation centers. Around 40,000 housing units require repair and reconstruction, in addition to 4,800 temporary shelters for those living in makeshift houses. The medium-term plan calls for industrial development, tourism, and economic infrastructure development.

During the development of the proposed plan, the local government of Tacloban City, with support from UN-Habitat and UNDP, was organizing several planning charettes to brainstorm and discuss strategies for the spatial development of Tacloban in order to address emergency, recovery, and long term rehabilitation needs. Meetings were attended by representatives from the city government, national agencies, local and international humanitarian organizations operating in Tacloban, as well as urban planners and other technical professionals.


After the presentation of the proposed recovery and rehabilitation plan, the floor was opened up to members of the public who had the opportunity to express their questions and concerns. The launch of the Facebook page for the Tacloban Recovery and Sustainable Development Group was also announced as a means for the public to continue the dialogue on Tacloban’s recovery.

The Tacloban Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan will be followed by the revision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and will be incorporated into the National Government’s Rehabilitation Plan.

See related Facebook page: Tacloban Recovery and Sustainable Development Group

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

Tacloban, March 21 2014 — 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


Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

Borongan, March 17 2014 — 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.

Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

Photo by: Amy Gagalac/UNDP.

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.

See related article: A step towards recovery for Guiuan and Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s Recovery and Rehabilitation plan



Tacloban, March 17 2014 — A team of six ARCADIANs recently returned from the second Shelter Rapid Response follow-up mission to typhoon hit parts of the Philippines.

The mission team, led by Program Manager Bert Smolders, assisted UN-Habitat in its damage assessment and reconstruction efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. The ARCADIS team assisted UN-Habitat in preparing plans for coastal zone protection, the provision of water supply and the urban planning of the area.

Speaking after the mission, Bert Smolders commented: “The widespread devastation caused by typhoon Hayian was still shockingly visible everywhere we went (pictured). Conditions for the people of Tacloban and Guiuan are severe but UN-Habitat and other international organizations are working hard to provide relief and recovery, and we are proud to be part of that work. The team had an excellent experience and made a real difference the local communities there.”

Bernhard Barth, Human Settlements Officer, Asia Pacific at UN-HABITAT gave the following feedback to the ARCADIS team:
“UN-Habitat is grateful to all the team members for the wonderful support they have provided to Tacloban and Guiuan through Shelter. The ARCADIS team’s contribution has been extremely useful to our work and is highly appreciated by the local government. We look forward to ARCADIS’ continued support to the typhoon response, in particular the coastal protection and master planning work”.


This trip followed a successful first mission carried out in the region last November. The missions were carried out at the request of UN-Habitat and performed under the Shelter program, the collaboration between ARCADIS and UN-Habitat.

The Shelter Program is supported financially by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

For more information on ARCADIS’ partnership with UN-Habitat, please visit their pages on: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Roxas, March 12 2014 — 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


Tacloban, March 4 2014 — The second follow-up mission by the ARCADIS in partnership with UN-Habitat presented ideas for the rehabilitation of Tacloban City to the City Government. The presentation was a result of fieldwork and consultations with the city.

The team saw the need to provide appropriate coastal protection to the city, and proposed different protection measures for the various sections of the coast: soft dunes for the south, a hard levee for the airport area, a raised bay boulevard for the built up mid-section, and a mangrove forest for the north.

In terms of urban planning, the team proposed strategies for various areas of the city, anchored on the principle that business development and employment drives spatial development. The downtown was proposed to be revitalized by retaining it as a historic core, and developing the harbour for fishing and tourism while also encouraging expansion to safer areas through the development of a new central business district further inland, and a new employment zone in the north.

The Tacloban City Government with the support of UN-Habitat will be using the results of the mission as inputs for the Tacloban City Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan.

See related article: Second planning charette held for Tacloban’s Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan


In addition to ARCADIS’ engagement in Tacloban, they also returned to Guiuan to address water supply, coastal protection, and the proposed permanent settlement site.

With the objective of establishing and mapping Guiuan’s sensitivity to extreme events, ARCADIS illustrated the impacts of Haiyan using a numerical model that simulates the supertyphoon, tracking varying wind and pressure fields over time and space. To further improve on the initial results of the simulation, ARCADIS conducted a coastal scan along the Leyte Gulf, from Tubabao down to Sulangan. The refined results would help in mapping Guiuan’s overall vulnerability to increasingly powerful typhoons and other hazards, and would serve as inputs to the review and updating of the municipality’s Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan.

Apart from the coastal scan, ARCADIS also looked into the rehabilitation of water lines, with more detailed assessment and sample costing, and further zoomed into the LGU’s proposed permanent settlement site in Barangay Tagporo, assessing several options for water pipe routing.