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DS Spearheading HLP Rights Advice in Post-Haiyan Philippines

DS is currently engaged in providing on-the-ground advice and expertise on numerous HLP issues arising in the aftermath of the tragic events of November 2013 in the Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Typhoon Yolanda) made first landfall in the Philippines on 8 November 2013 and was the most powerful typhoon ever recorded to hit land. The devastation from Yolanda has been catastrophic, damaging or destroying over 1 million homes, leaving thousands dead and displacing 4 million people.

Working with the support of the IFRC, DS deployed one of its HLP Experts, Ezekiel (Zeke) Simperingham, as a National Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Advisor to the Shelter Cluster in the Philippines.

In response to Yolanda, the IASC Shelter Cluster was convened to coordinate the humanitarian shelter response and is co-chaired by IFRC and the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development.

DS is working closely with humanitarian shelter agencies in all Cluster hubs (Manila, Tacloban, Guiuan, Roxas, Ormoc and Cebu), with national and local authorities and with other IASC Clusters (including Protection and CCCM), providing advice on legal and regulatory barriers to the provision of shelter assistance as well as seeking to promote the housing, land and property rights of all affected persons in all aspects of the humanitarian response. The DS expert has prepared a series of HLP guidance notes which have been distributed to a range of local government officials and UN and other agencies active in the recovery efforts.

HLP issues have emerged as one of the key challenges in the humanitarian response to Yolanda. Building on DS experience in Sri Lanka following the Asian Tsunami of 2005, DS has focused on advising on the declaration of a 40m coastal “no build zone”, which restricts the right of people to return and rebuild their homes in coastal areas; plans to relocate affected people from no build zones and other declared “danger zones” to transitional and permanent relocation sites; promoting standards of adequacy in shelter and housing including the need to strengthen security of tenure for the many informal settlers affected by Yolanda and the need to promote principles around non-discrimination and the protection of the most vulnerable in the HLP sector.

Access to the DS Global HLP Rights Expert Registry is available to the UN and other international agencies. The Registry allows DS to provide high-quality and field-tested expertise, tools and human resources to enable all future post-conflict and post-disaster peace and emergency relief operations to be properly equipped to address the HLP rights challenges facing all countries in such circumstances. Please email DS at to access the DS Global HLP Rights Expert Registry.

DS has also issued three Guidance Notes on several key HLP themes, including relocation and the HLP rights of indigenous peoples. You can access them by clicking on the following links:

Below are a few images of the ravaged coastline of the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.






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