D E S I G N
V E N U E
Issues and Challenges of Slum Upgrading in
Disaster Risk Area : The Case of BASECO
Gloria B. Teodoro, Fuap, piep
Natural disasters throughout the world have occurred with more frequency and severity in the last twenty years, resulting in the loss of economic, humanitarian, and ecological resources in the areas struck by them. Urban poor settlements are usually the sites most at risk from the negative effects of this climate change. In most cities the urban poor live in the riskiest urban environments such as in flood or landslide-prone areas (Hardoy, 2001). Existing land markets often have land costs pricing most or all low-income groups out of “official” land-for-housing markets. This result to large sections of the urban population to acquire land and to build housing outside the official system of land-use controls and building standards that is meant to reduce risks and stop settlements on land at risk from floods and storms.
High-density populations plus concentrations of their solid and liquid wastes, many provisions for disaster avoidance such as resilient dwellings, disaster response such as access for emergency vehicles, or reducing disaster impacts such as readily available open spaces not at risk from falling buildings, are not possible in crowded low-income settlements. The increasing variability of climate also usually affect the income of the urban poor negatively, including their asset base, the prices they pay for necessities, their dwellings and the infrastructure and services on which they depend. One additional threat faced by large sections of the urban poor is that governments may clear them off sites that are deemed to be vulnerable to hazards, with very inadequate or no provision for finding alternative accommodation that meets their needs (Satterthwaite et. al., 2007).
Many lessons were learned from disasters and there were plenty of discussions on the needed alignment of development and disaster-prevention, preparedness and response to develop cost-effective methodologies for identifying and assessing risks for advanced preparedness to avoid potential disaster events. Yet, governments still fail to act to reduce risk from extreme weather events because of a conscious decision to ignore the settlements most at risk, and a view that governments “cannot” provide infrastructure to informal settlements that are seen as illegal. There is also a lack of awareness of the value of the assets lost by affected poor populations and of their importance to city economies (Satterthwaite et. al., 2007).
Similarly, poor communities themselves fail to act to reduce risk due to expensive infrastructure needed to reduce risks. Because of the risk of being evicted, the informal settlers are usually unwilling to invest in infrastructure. Due to lack of awareness, they 32
also fail to perceive the seriousness of disaster risk until a disaster event occurs. Disasters such as flooding occur so regularly that communities become accustomed to living with risk rather than seeking to limit their scale and impact (Satterthwaite et. al., 2007).
Even after disasters, risk reduction, relief and reconstruction is often ineffective. Humanitarian agencies do not have developmental skills or approaches that support and encourage local participation, leading to ineffective and inappropriate investments. Moreover, funding budgets from donors often have to be spent in a short time period, usually within a year, and are not available to support longer-term development processes (Satterthwaite et. al., 2007).
According to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Philippines was the fourth most accident prone country in the world after China, India and Iran. This was concluded after estimating that some 5,809,986 Filipinos were killed or injured as a result of disasters or man-made calamities over a ten-year period (19922001). Many areas in the Philippines, whether...
References: Habitat for Humanity (Philippines) (HfHP), BASECO Bagong Buhay Project,Port Area, Manila, 2005
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Baseco, Manila,
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