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Architects launch response to Typhoon Haiyan

One week after winds reaching almost 200mph hit the Philippines architects are responding to the crisis

More than 700,000 people are thought to have been made homeless by the storm which hit the Philippines last Thursday (7 November), affecting around 270 towns and cities.

Architecture for Humanity has begun work with local and regional construction professionals on the ground in the Philippines assessing what is needed in the wake of the Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The humanitarian architecture organisation are working to assist in long term-reconstruction and have called for both donations and volunteers to support with efforts to rebuild displaced communities.

Eric Cesal, director of Architecture for Humanity’s reconstruction and resiliency studio, said: ‘We’re in touch with local architects and partners within our network, who are helping us to identify the most critical rebuilding needs - both in the short and long term. As we identify these needs, we will work with communities to build back better. Early support will allow us to begin working with communities immediately and empower local architects to drive recovery locally.’  

International disaster relief charity Redr, responsible for training architects and engineers for work in emergency situations, has said that they will not yet be deploying a team to the region but are supporting aid agencies already there.   

A spokesperson for Redr commented: ‘There is known to be significant damage to infrastructure and devastating damage to the city of Tacloban. The challenges for humanitarian response in urban settings are very different from rural relief.’

Habitat for Humanity has begun distribution of 30,000 shelter repair kits which will be used to repair partially damaged homes.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, said: ‘As the international community begins to assist our friends in the Philippines, we are seeing how much work will be needed in the days and months ahead to help families rebuild their homes and their lives.’

CARE international emergency communications editor, Sandra Bulling said: ‘There is a lot of speculation about the death toll, and everyone trying to figure out how many people have died. But we can’t just measure the disaster by the number of dead people – entire communities have been wiped out. Houses, everything, gone.’

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