The evolution of shelter ‘self-recovery’: adapting thinking and practice for post-disaster resilience

by John Twigg

29 Oct 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Abstract: Providing adequate shelter after disasters is often a huge challenge to humanitarian agencies, whose interventions may reach only a small proportion of affected households. To overcome this problem, the international humanitarian shelter sector is increasingly adopting what is called a ‘self-recovery’ approach that gives much greater choice and agency to disaster-affected households regarding their recovery pathways. This article reviews the concept of ‘self-recovery’, its application to housing reconstruction after disasters and the factors influencing its recent rise to prominence in humanitarian policy and practice. The article draws on academic studies, evidence generated by humanitarian agencies and the author’s involvement as observer and participant in recent self-recovery initiatives.

Keywords: disaster, humanitarian, shelter, recovery, reconstruction, agency.

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 8 (Climate, Disaster and Risk)

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