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Supporting Safer Housing Reconstruction After Disasters
Shelter is a fundamental human need in both times of stability and in times of crisis.Even so, past experience has shown that in post-disaster situations, not enough attention is given to supporting the construction of safer housing, to ensure that affected communities can withstand future crises and recover more rapidly. As natural disasters become increasingly common, it becomes ever more crucial to identify the key components of safer housing (re)construction, in order to build back better and more resilient homes.
This publication builds upon extensive experience in post-disaster housing recovery efforts from all over the world. UN-Habitat has been supporting local government,construction sector professionals, and communities in housing recovery for over twenty years. This document draws on this experience.
A key principle that emerges from these lessons is that survivors of crises must be given every opportunity to actively shape their own recovery. Without strategic planning and technical assistance, there is a risk that emergency construction solutions become permanent. Emergency shelter response must already incorporate longer-term elements that will increase resilience to future disasters.Finally, it is paramount that all response efforts put people first: supporting them with technical assistance in the choices they make about their homes, empowering them to build safer and better, and leaving a positive institutional legacy. All of this contributes to mitigating future disasters and maximising both humanitarian and developmental resources.By providing practical and adaptable guidance on technical assistance through these guidelines, UN-Habitat seeks to empower actors on the front lines of housing reconstruction, and encourage decision makers and practitioners to give greater consideration to technical assistance in reconstruction efforts.Safer housing construction may also require retrofitting in order to reduce vulnerability in urban centres, and prevent or reduce the negative impacts of disasters. It is with such an understanding that these guidelines are equally aimed at bringing good practices and recommendations to the built environment sector operating in non-crisis circumstances.These guidelines are the result of a broad collaboration between many different organisations and institutions, from the private sector–most notably, AXA, who generously supported the project– as well as various local government officials,international non-governmental organisations, and humanitarian and development actors. The result are concrete, accessible and practical guidelines that can be used in a broad range of contexts.