The Right Move? Ensuring durable relocation after typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) left four million people homeless. Local authorities are preparing to relocate thousands of them, to protect them from future disasters. However, current plans ignore key elements of sustainable relocation processes, and lack technical guidance and support. People may see their rights denied and become poorer and more vulnerable to disasters.

Similar gaps emerged previously in the Philippines and led to failed relocations. The government’s response to typhoon Haiyan should demonstrate increased political will to ‘do it right’ this time and resolve these issues once and for all.

Our report, ‘The Right Move?’, shares the results of a survey of 435 people at risk of relocation, and provides key recommendations on how the Philippines government, the international community and civil society can ensure a better and more successful relocation process.

Key recommendations from the report:

The Philippines government should:

  • Provide policy guidelines to local authorities on: compensation for land or house owners in ‘unsafe’ areas, tenure security in permanent relocation sites and selection criteria for beneficiaries of permanent housing.
  • Fast track the determination of ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ zones and the production of more detailed geo hazard maps.

Local government units should:

  • Delay the transfer of people to permanent relocation sites until the ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ zones have been determined through a scientific process led by the MGB and until people are selected through a transparent, fair, and equitable process.

  • Where relocation is justifiable, conduct information campaigns and organize meaningful consultations with affected communities to develop durable relocation plans.

  • Make livelihoods an integral part of relocation planning. This should include conducting socio economic studies in the early stages of planning, and developing livelihood opportunities before relocating people.