Lessons learned from 14 years of disasters
Last week at the UK’s Shelter Forum, international development charity Habitat for Humanity launched its disaster response catalogue which reviews the last 14 years of disaster recovery work.
It catalogues and analyses the charity’s responses to a broad sample of disasters, identifying key learning, challenges and practices for the future.
Mario Flores, Director of Disaster Response Field Operations at Habitat for Humanity said, “As an organisation it is important to look back at experiences to have a better understanding of what our contributions have been and to document the programmes. We had to go back to research programmes for which we didn’t have a lot of documentation, including going back to communities for information.
“For the wider sector, the catalogue illustrates the multiplicity of interventions in a disaster recovery scenario. Every disaster is different and so every response is also different. Understanding the context and the specific needs of the community is very, very important. From each response in the catalogue, Habitat for Humanity sought to identify key learning and promising practices to incorporate to institutional knowledge.
“The catalogue allows other organisations to reflect on interventions that have been well known in the past. It illustrates a number of avenues for intervening, and shares what Habitat for Humanity have discovered over their 14 years of disaster risk reduction and response work. For Habitat for Humanity it also highlights the necessity to proactively document our work.”
Habitat for Humanity’s disaster risk reduction and response work around the world has the end goal of sustainable development. Low-income families living in substandard housing are among those most vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards and the turmoil of armed conflicts. The devastation resulting from disasters destroys homes and livelihoods, and dreams for the future. War and civil unrest create millions of refugees and internally displaced people. Families whose lives are upended often struggle to rebuild their lives with few tools or resources.
Since responding to Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America in 1998, Habitat for Humanity has increased its capacity to support disaster risk reduction and response worldwide. The charity’s work after some of the worst disasters of the past decade — including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 – has involved shelter assistance in a wide variety of forms to more than 500,000 disaster-affected people facing the gravest of circumstances. Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to help families not only acquire adequate housing, but also to help them return to schools, jobs and communities that can help them create pathways to permanence.
Habitat for Humanity currently works in over 70 countries worldwide, helping people living in poverty housing to build a safe, decent home. Since 1976 the charity has served over 3 million people.
For further information, photos or interviews please contact Eleanor Perkins, Press Officer. T: 01295 220322 F: 01295 264230. Skype: eleanor.perkins3. E: EPerkins@habitatforhumanity.org.uk. www.HabitatForHumanity.org.uk
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international Christian charity that aims to break the cycle of poverty by eliminating poverty housing and homelessness. We believe that everyone, regardless of background, gender or belief, has a right to a safe, decent place to live. We champion that right and also take practical action, working with communities around the world to empower them to design and manage appropriate housing projects in their neighbourhood. Since 1976 we have helped over 3 million people. For more information go to www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk
• The UK Shelter Forum 2013 on Friday 22nd February was co-hosted by Habitat for Humanity GB and Oxfam GB. www.shelterforum.org.uk