National Strategy for DRR
National Target Programme
for Climate Change
National Programme on
Law on DRR
have been prepared, voted,
and are implemented.
But more poor,
more vulnerable people,
more affected by natural
Who can reduce vulnerability ?
Policy, law, codes,
Hazards & risks
Funding, savings & loans
and physical labour
needs, wishes, capacity,
vision of future
People struggle for « better » homes
Despite poverty, over the past 30
years families have incrementally
replaced bamboo and thatch
houses with more durable
structures, building what they
believe is a stronger house.
Sadly, few houses have been either
well built or completely finished
and they cannot resist a strong
Vulnerability is increasing: there is more to lose !
Precious family investment in
the home is at serious risk
from annual typhoons and
Unneccesary damage could
When disaster strikes…
Families have had to cope on their own for reconstruction.
• There has been little support and no recognition of the important
contribution families can make to damage prevention.
• Rebuilding costs many times more than any support they get from
For families, damage prevention is the best option
It is cheaper, it is easy, and it is socially appropriate
needs to made a
The DWF project objective
is to reduce vulnerability
and damage in houses and
The DWF project helps
protect family investment
in shelter and enables
improvements, not repairs.
Making new and existing houses strong and safe
10 generic principles of safer construction
Reconstruction in Kontum (2010)
Risks: Flash flood, flood, typhoon
Community of minority people in
Highlands of central Vietnam;
living in the hills, then relocated
near a river - after construction of
Houses destroyed after Typhoon
Ketsana (October 2009)
Relocated in a new settlement in
the same Commune in a safer
System of cash grant (same
amount for all beneficiaries),
design made with families, but
with the lack of local builders,
construction by a Construction
Company from District centre. No
financial contribution at all.
Reconstruction in Quang Ngai (2010)
Village of fishermen, and small
business along the coast, central
Houses destroyed by Typhoon
Ketsana (October 2009).
Reconstruction programme funded
by IFRC, to rebuilt safe house on
the same land.
System of cash grant (same
amount for all beneficiaries), with
proposals of model houses,
discussions with families to adapt
the model to needs and capacities,
technical standards and
supervision of construction by local
Reconstruction in Thua Thien Hue (2010)
Risk: Typhoon, and sea surge, flood
Community of fishermen, along the lagoon of south Thua Thien Hue province, living previously in boats, and
resettled on land in a small hamlet, far from the Commune centre, and without easy access.
Houses damaged or destroyed by Typhoon Ketsana (October 2009).
Reconstruction programme, funded by the French Prime Minister’s Office, to rebuilt or strengthened houses on
the same land by the sea/lagoon, and construction of a dyke to protect the hamlet.
Used a system of cash grants, with technical advice, guidelines for construction by local builders, and supervision
of works. Financial contribution from families.
Prevention in Thua Thien Hue (2000 – 2009)
Risk: Typhoon, flood
Rural Commune, in
the coastal plain.
from 2000 to 2009
to support families
to strengthen their
house, with a
subsidy and family
Works done by local
Findings from the survey
All the programmes are of small or medium scale (ex. Programme reconstruction 650 houses in 6 Provinces,
or 25-30 houses in one Commune) targeting poor families seriously affected by natural disasters, and faced
with specific disaster events or regular disaster events, and who have insufficient capacity to rebuild their
house safely –mainly because of lack of sufficient funding. In most of the programmes, the families’
contribution (almost always funded through private loans or gifts) has been a significant part of the
expenditure, as families decide to invest in completing their house for their own and the house’s long term
Proposed designs are adapted for and adopted by each family, and include basic guidelines for safer
Perception by families benficiaries
After several years, all families are still living in their rebuilt houses, and these in many cases have
been improved and/or extended.
No damage has occurred during more recent disaster events. Achieving safety is in effect a catalyst
for then generating improvement of the house.
The perception of being “safe” has thus created a better way of living for families, who can now
allocate their savings to other economic needs and this frequently does include extending and
improving their home.
Their new/rebuilt home needs no repairs, needs less or very little maintenance is easier for cleaning
and through this contributes to lower the traditional work of women.
Practices of project implementation
Relations with DWF staff are also considered as a key point for the project implementation at all
stages, with a single person being allocated to a family and seeing the construction/reconstruction
process through from start to finish.
Programmes were based on local traditions and local materials and implemented with local builders
chosen by families. Families had the opportunity to change the proposed designs according to their
needs, wishes and financial capacity –whilst respecting the key principles and guidelines for safe
Diffusion of techniques – Public awareness
• The local opinion is that the reinforced house can withstand common disasters, and this is shared as
well with neighbours. The preventive strengthening of the basic structure and of the roof covering is
now considered as essential measure for all the families.
• Building safer means some extra-cost (10-25% of the building value) that some could still consider as
unnecessary, but whilst the additional cost of achieving a safe house is an important issue..
• However, the dissemination of some specific techniques, such as concrete ribs on tiled roofs, can be
more difficult for other reasons, for example that people think that such measures goes against the
perception of the “beauty” of the home.
Housing as a process, not only as a product
• After a disaster, reconstruction is still too often considered as a question of delivering shelter in the form of a
number of complete (or core) houses to a number of ‘victim’ families with the associated major constraints of
logistics, the supply of building materials, and project planning. Housing is to often seen only as a product, akin
to water filters or bags of rice… to be transferred to a population by international (or national) organisations,
“shelter consultants” and projects managers most of whom know very little about community driven
construction processes. Within this, integration of safer construction processes and techniques is too often
neglected, and too often rebuilding does not integrate safer building.
• Housing has to be considered as a process, and although it can be seen as a complicated process and one that in
all cases includes many actors and many components. It remains that, in reconstruction, concerned families must
be at the centre of the process that is adopted. A process that considers how the family lived before the disaster,
how they would like to live in the future, on what is the importance of different spaces in the home (private,
semi-private, public), on the social position of the house in local society, and on what are the relations between
families and local builders, with local authorities, with lending agencies, etc. are that all have an input into the
• The houses design phase has to be done with local “technicians”, who may be architects or even more often,
local builders, to ensure that designs will be fully appropriated by and appropriate for the family.
Flexibility in design, adaptation to local architectural styles and a capacity to work with families are all essential
for the appropriation of the techniques that make for a safe house. “Participatory design” may take time and can
appear to make it difficult to achieve a synthesis of different needs.
• In addition, in housing implementation, we have considered that construction should be supervised not only by
projects but also by families who invariably do this strictly. It implies that post disaster reconstruction should be
accompanied by training and public campaigns on safer house designed to resist identified hazards.
DRR in reconstruction “Building safer and better”
• Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction in reconstruction is, surprisingly, not always considered a priority, because
response is too often based on the rapid delivery of houses to rehouse people in as short a time as possible.
• A major concern is resilience after one event is seriously undermined if measures for safe use of reconstruction
materials have not been provided along with materials. A DWF survey after Typhoon Pablo (Mindanao Island,
December 2012) showed that reconstruction work was not integrating basic cyclone resistant features in
• DRR in construction needs to develop and apply key principles of safe construction that reflect local practice,
materials and build on local know-how as a starting point; linked to appropriate material for training and
disseminating safer construction techniques amongst the local community of builders and technicians. This
implies that whilst principle of safety can be transferred from one place to another, actual technical and practical
solutions have to be developed locally and not brought from other places and countries.
Funding and transparency
• Most of DWF programmes implemented by DWF have been made with “cash grants”, mostly because in the case
of Vietnam, after a disaster, the local market for construction (materials, builders…) is not totally disrupted.
• Allocation depends of the local situation (what hazards) and technical constraints (example in flooding areas the
need for high foundations), the composition and capacity of each affected family (number persons, possible
family contribution), to achieve a safe house. In the DWF Vietnam experience, families have been shown to be
conscientious about managing the purchase for materials and construction labour.
Support by specialist social workers ?
• Frequently in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, organisations prepare programmes and plans, to rebuild
affected or destroyed communities based on a sectorial approach, each with its own sectorial specialists for
health, water, food, cleaning, education, shelter, logistic (often from abroad) and each evaluating the way to
cover immediate and long term needs of the communities in a specific sector and each working in a degree of
• Neither families nor communities see vulnerability in a sectorial manner, not do they consider achieving safety as
being a sectorial issue. They link all their issues, and decide what to do or what can be done on a broad base and
based on capacity and a range of priorities. The house is not considered as priority n° 1, but the survey confirms
that the safer house leads to savings (and thus to many other things) to better health and more besides; thus
decision making about reconstruction and priorities is also not purely a financial or technical issue.
• The DWF team has worked as a group over many years. Despite the fact that the team is made up of social
workers, people with communication skills, as well as architects and engineers, the staff are encouraged to
operate as a team and through this, to individually develop more holistic skills that improve their ability to
interact with families and communities and with community and more senior leaders. We have worked to avoid
developing a sectorial view of families and their built environment
• For Vietnam, DWF made another choice, to mix all these “specialities” into one team developing a holistic view
of family and community capacity, the risk and needs, and the construction solutions and communication
methods that would suit this context, bringing together and complementing different skills to create a good
capacity to communicate with family, evaluate works to be done and to supervise, animate training or public
campaign for safe housing; and calculate the costs of actions.
Post reconstruction evaluation
• As the origin of this study was the evaluation that housing programmes are considered as ‘finished’, when the
house key is given to the family and the report to the donor completed and sent, with little subsequent
assessment to see how well the product worked.
• Long term post disaster reconstruction evaluations are quite rare. Generally only made in case of extreme events
with long term reconstruction (such as after the Tsunami 2004 in Asia) where there has been a lot of learning
opportunity, which provide various reports on the necessity for a “better approach”. But unfortunately it remains
that when the next extreme disaster happens, very few people will take past experience into sufficient account Haiti being a case in point. Except for a better organisation of speciality sectorial cluster.
• Once could request that organisations who looks for new funding be asked to submit how they will apply
(independent) recommendations based on the evaluation of previous programmes.
Development Workshop France
DW Viet Nam
21 Ngoc Anh
Phu Thuong – Phu Vang
Thua Thien Hué Province,
IFRC (2010, 2013),
European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil
(ECHO/DIPECHO) (2003 – 2013),
Ford Foundation (2008 – 2013)
CIDA IHA (2000 – 2002)