The Right Move? Ensuring durable relocation after Haiyan

Fish vendor and mother of four Felisa Abas hopes relocation in Pago, Leyte, will bring her a better life (2014). Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
Paper author: 
Caroline Baudot
Paper publication date: 
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author: Caroline Baudot
PublisherOxfam International
Series: Oxfam Briefing Papers
Type: Policy Paper

Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) left four million people homeless. Amid the transition from a largely successful relief effort to recovery, local authorities are preparing to relocate thousands of survivors to protect them from future disasters. This is an opportunity for the government to ‘build back better’.

However, current plans ignore key elements of sustainable relocation processes, and lack technical guidance and support. The legal rights of thousands of people to be informed and consulted are not being met. This is likely to leave many survivors poorer and more vulnerable to disasters.

Similar flaws have occured previously in the Philippines and led to failed relocation initiatives. For current relocation plans to succeed, the government should demonstrate increased political will to ‘do it right’ this time.