J. Assessment Checklists

8. Shelter and Settlements

a. Establishing Context


(1) The Affected Population

  • Determine the area affected (e.g., portion of city, several villages, large area of a country).
  • Are important terms (e.g., houses, dwelling units, households, families, homeless) defined clearly, and used consistently in any reporting documents generated?
  • How many people lived in the affected area before the disaster or conflict?
  • How many people comprised a typical household? On average, how many people lived per occupied dwelling unit before the disaster or conflict?
  • What percentage of households owned their homes before the disaster or conflict?
  • Did the affected community include groups of individuals who did not form typical households, such as unaccompanied children or particular minority groups with household sizes that were not considered typical?
  • How did people earn a living before the disaster or conflict? What incomes did they have? What assets did households have? What was lost, and what remains?
  • What household and livelihood support activities typically took place in and around the dwelling units of the affected population, and how did the resulting space provision and design reflect these activities?


(2) Housing Delivery System

  • Who builds the housing?
  • How is the housing built?
  • How long does it take to build a typical dwelling unit?
  • What materials are used?
  • Where do the materials come from?
  • What is the availability and cost of materials?


b. Identifying Impacts, Resources, and Opportunities

(1) Impacts

  • What caused the housing damage? Is there likelihood that the cause of damage will be repeated in the foreseeable future? To what extent can the cause of damage be mitigated at reasonable cost?
  • What is the degree of accessibility to the affected areas for assessment and possible delivery of relief supplies?
  • How many households (and people) in the affected area sustained damage to their homes? What are the percentages of housing supply and population directly affected by disaster or conflict in affected areas?
  • How many households are without any shelter or have inadequate shelter, and where are they? What does this number represent in terms of a percentage of total households in the affected area?
  • Is the need for shelter temporary (a few weeks), or does a displaced population require shelter for an indeterminate time?
  • Has a damage profile, which catalogs the varying degrees of housing damage from undamaged to destroyed, been developed? Estimate the number of private dwellings (single-family, attached, low-rise, and high-rise multiple family) and public buildings (schools, churches, hospitals) damaged or destroyed by city, village, or region. Determine the number of damaged dwellings that are habitable without immediate repair, habitable only after repair, and not habitable and must be destroyed.
  • To what extent were nonhousing structures (e.g., shops, offices, and public buildings) also damaged? These structures might serve as resources for subsequent shelter provision, giving careful consideration to access to sanitation and water, and are also critical indicators of community well-being and security; therefore, the impact of disasters and conflicts on these structures should be documented.
  • If relocation is necessary due to the nature of the disaster, what impacts might this cause on the local population? With resident populations in potential relocation areas?


(2) Resources

  • What initial shelter solutions or materials have been provided to date by the affected households or other actors?
  • Do affected families have friends and relatives who can provide assistance?
  • What existing materials can be salvaged from the damaged site (if applicable) for use in the reconstruction of shelters?
  • What are the typical building practices of the displaced and host populations, and what are the different materials that are used to provide the structural frame, roof, and external wall enclosures?
  • What alternative design or materials solutions are potentially available and familiar or acceptable to the affected population? Would these materials meet cultural and disaster-resistance requirements?
  • What are the types and quantities of building materials that the affected government can provide for the victims for temporary or permanent shelter? What are the types and quantities of materials needed from external sources for temporary or permanent shelter?
  • What is the suitability (i.e., infrastructure support) of available sites for temporary and permanent shelters, including, where necessary, mass sheltering? Would environmental conditions impose constraints on temporary shelters or camps, such as all-season accessibility, proximity to sources of essential supplies (shelter materials, cooking fuel, water, etc.), soil, topography, drainage, and vegetation?


(3) Opportunities

  • What local, national, and international organizations are present in affected areas? What are the capacities of these organizations, and what are they planning?
  • What are the current material, financial, and human resources and constraints of the affected households and the community to meet some or all of their urgent shelter needs?
  • What are the opportunities and constraints of the host population in accommodating displaced households in their own dwellings or on adjacent land?
  • What are the opportunities and constraints of using existing, available, and unaffected buildings or structures to temporarily accommodate displaced households?
  • What are the requirements and constraints of local authority regulations in formulating shelter solutions?
  • What is the current provision of social facilities (health clinics, schools, places of worship, etc.), and what are the constraints and opportunities related to accessing these facilities?
  • What are the organizational and planning issues of accommodating the displaced households in host communities or in temporary settlements?
  • What are the environmental concerns in providing shelter assistance (e.g., access and sourcing shelter materials) and in supporting the displaced households (e.g., fuel, sanitation, waste disposal, grazing for animals if appropriate)?
  • What opportunities are present for building local shelter/settlement provision and management capacities?
  • How can women, youths, and older people be trained or assisted to participate in the building of their own shelters, and what are the constraints?
  • What livelihood support opportunities can be provided through the sourcing of materials and the construction of shelter and settlement solutions?
  • How can the identified shelter solutions incorporate disaster prevention and mitigation concerns?
  • What is the topographical and environmental suitability of accessible vacant land to accommodate temporary settlements? What are the potential hazards and security vulnerabilities of available sites for temporary and permanent shelters?
  • What are the opportunities and constraints of current patterns of land ownership, land usage, drainage, and sanitation, and the availability of vacant land, in helping to meet urgent shelter needs?

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TOC: J. Assessment Checklists

Last updated: May 18, 2017