Shelter after Disaster
Immediately after a natural disaster a critical need is for safe shelter. In the first days and weeks in the relief phase shelter is often in the form of tents and makeshift shacks built from whatever materials are available.
As relief shifts to recovery critical decisions are made that set the nature and scope of longer term shelter: location, quality, cost, role of government authorities and aid agencies, and of people themselves.
While 'shelter after disaster' has been a recognised field of work for at least thirty years, the systems and approaches for successful shelter delivery are far from clear.
With a bewildering range of actors and contested debate over the best approaches, achieving equitable, sustainable and effective shelter after disaster can be complex, and too often goes wrong. To these ends CENDEP's approach to shelter after disaster is to learn from practice about what works best. For CENDEP this means adhering to developmental good practice, wherein affected communities must be engaged in decision making at every stage.
To achieve this, building professionals need to work as facilitators of processes that engage people, rather than as isolated experts. For many, this requires learning new approaches to their work which may contradict their traditional training or education.
Finally, decisions concerning shelter set the basis for the longer term recovery of household and community livelihoods.
As shelter is the first step to recovery; a safe durable home is a step towards reducing long-term vulnerability.
Therefore, getting it right is critical.
Building for safety
CENDEP is currently working with Practical Action Publishing and several NGOs to update the Building for Safety book series. For further information click here.