Browse by Theme: Shelter

On 4th August 2020, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history devastated large parts of the Lebanese capital. At least 200 people lost their lives, over 300,000 were left homeless and the blast caused an estimated US$15 billion in damage. Three months on, CARE’s Emergency Shelter Advisor – one of the first CARE staff to deploy during the global pandemic – shares five lessons on responding to a complex crisis in the time of COVID-19.

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On August 4 2020, the devastating Beirut explosion shook the whole city to its core, taking the lives of 191 persons (120 males, 58 females, and 13 unspecified), wounding at least 6,500, and leaving 300,000 people displaced. The impact of the explosion compounded with the worst economic crisis in the history of Lebanon and the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to significantly push back what gains have been made on gender equality in the country. This report assesses how diverse women, men, girls, boys, and gender minorities were affected, with a close look at the specific impact on older, disabled, refugee, migrant, and LBQT (lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans) women.

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Co-authored by Emma Weinstein-Sheffield and Sue Webb

World Humanitarian Day on 19th August reminds us that “in 2020, nearly 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This represents 1 in about 45 people in the world, and is the highest figure in decades” (UN website). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus how poor housing quality and overcrowding can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.

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This report contains the proceedings of a Multi-sectoral Shelter and Health Learning Day hosted by the ‘Self-recovery from Humanitarian Crisis’ research group. The report, which includes summaries of 20 presentations by humanitarian and development experts, explores how shelter support for housing reconstruction, including through self-recovery, can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing in the short- and long-term for people recovering from disasters.

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After disasters and in post-conflict returns, many families will rebuild relying on their own resources, with little or no support from formal institutions or the humanitarian community – they self-recover. Previous research indicates that support after a major disaster is likely to meet only around 15% of the shelter needs, often less. Yet, many people will rebuild homes incorporating the same housing vulnerabilities as before and the opportunity to build safer, healthier homes can be missed. So what more can we do to support this inevitable process of shelter self-recovery?

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As the climate crisis makes natural disasters a daily reality for people around the world, communities and humanitarian organisations are looking for ways to mitigate risks and build resilience. In 2019, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai – which ravaged the coast of southern Africa – CARE’s Emergency Shelter Advisor, Crystal Whitaker, travelled to Malawi to support recovery and learn how communities were using simple savings groups to break the devastating cycle where repeat floods would wipe out homes and livelihoods, forcing families to start over again and again. Below she shares seven lessons for practitioners looking to build longer-term risk mitigation measures into shorter emergency or preparedness programmes.

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CARE’s Emergency Shelter Team provides technical expertise in emergency shelter and reconstruction. In the financial year July 2018 - June 2019, CARE implemented 73 projects around the world with a shelter and housing component and two projects involving camp coordination and camp management. Around 1.6 million people received direct shelter assistance and a further 1.4 million people benefited indirectly from those projects. 54% of people reached were women and girls. The Emergency Shelter Team Annual Review 2019 sets out the ways that the team can support shelter responses around the world, and highlights a selection of shelter programme responses from the last financial year that reflect the scope and impact of CARE’s work.

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