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Upholding Dignity in Times of Crises: Insights from the Barangay Catmon 'Bayanihan' Emergency Evacuation Shelter Provision

As emergency shelter response remained underdeveloped and inadequate in most parts of Metro Manila, structures not designed as emergency shelters, such as multipurpose halls, basketball courts, and schools, are being tapped to service internally displaced persons (IDPs) during disasters. Aside from the obvious lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition facilities in these ad hoc evacuation centers, issues on equitable access to space, and privacy and safety concerns are perennial concerns among evacuees. Beyond access to shelter, what constitutes good design and better space management warrants a closer look at upholding human dignity during crises. Insights from the May 2018 fire victim evacuation camp in Barangay Catmon, Malabon City discusses crafting a "best fit" solution based on available resources, skillsets, costs, and its materiality to the larger community system. Such participatory and inclusive development of temporary shelter solutions 'with and by' the IDPs, assisted by local technical experts and enabled by local government units (LGUs), is worth exploring as an approach to building the resilience of vulnerable neighborhoods to disasters.


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