Haiyan operation passes 10,000 shelter milestone

Published: 9 February 2015 15:34 CET

By Kate Marshall, IFRC

Just a few weeks ago the Red Cross and Red Crescent in the Philippines notched up more than 10,000 new houses as part of the overall Typhoon Haiyan recovery operation that began in March last year.

The number of houses constructed so far is more than 25 per cent of the overall new – or core – shelter target of 40,000.

Of the new houses, the Philippine Red Cross worked with ICRC to built 4,462 and with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to build 1,567. The balance contributed by other National Societies working in the region.

The ICRC design is based on coconut lumber and woven panels called sawali, while the IFRC shelter design uses concrete for the lower walls, columns and floor, and has a timber and plywood upper structure. Both designs have corrugated iron roofs, some of which are pre-painted in red.

IFRC shelter coordinator Woody Eastwood said that while a large proportion of the Haiyan response is covering shelter, there is still a great deal of need. “A lot of planning and ordering of materials is now in place and repairing of houses is now fully complete,” he said. “The next year calls for a strong push to implement the construction of new houses.”

The Philippine Red Cross/IFRC team is moving towards a target of 9,000 core shelters overall, with about 500 in progress on top of the number of completed homes. One thousand houses are being delivered or are on order while a further 2,500 are at the procurement stage.

Another milestone has been reached by shelter repair assistance (SRA). This important component of the overall shelter programme provides people with the equivalent of $220 US dollars in cash and material to rebuild their homes. By the end of January, more than 38,870 households had received these funds – more than 75 per cent of the 50,000 overall shelter repair assistance target for Haiyan. The IFRC has reached more than 18,200 households with this programme.

The figure for the Haiyan shelter operation are impressive; by the end of January more than 235,000 of the 300,000 roofing sheets on order had been used or delivered. Add to this 822,570 concrete hollow blocks, 287,500 pieces of coconut lumber, 160,500 steel bars and 88,600 bags of cement.

The Cebu City warehouse is the logistics hub of the Haiyan operation. From there, material such as corrugated iron sheets are transported to six local warehouses on Cebu, Leyte and Panay islands for distribution to families in affected areas.

Nand Lal Sharma, logistics coordinator for the IFRC’s Philippine delegation, said that the biggest challenge for his team is maintaining the supply chain that is delivering more than 198,000 metric tonnes of material for the shelter programme, as well as the other key sectors such as water and sanitation, health and education. “Coordination with the programme managers and other support services, such as finance, is key to making sure that purchases and deliveries meet the timelines,” he said.