Improving Shelter Responses to Floods in Pakistan

The first phase of a DFID-funded study to develop best practices for flood-resistant shelter construction was completed during 2013 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Arup International Development. The final report is now available:

Study to Develop a Research Methodology.pdf

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Summary: For three years in a row, 2010-2012, extreme flooding has occurred in southern Pakistan which caused widespread devastation and resulted in more than 2.5 million houses being destroyed. Humanitarian agencies and donors carried out shelter programmes in response to these events which assisted in the re-construction of 100,000 houses. However, their capacity is dwarfed by the magnitude and frequency of these flood events, leaving many families without assistance. Given the likelihood of increased flood risk and limited humanitarian funding in the future, it is therefore imperative to focus on enabling communities living in flood-prone areas to build flood-resilient shelters.

This study draws together existing information on flood-resilient shelters in order to identify key criteria that shelter partners and government can use to inform and assess the design of flood-resilient housing in southern Pakistan. Its primary purpose has been to inform a methodology for further research that will provide a scientifically and academically robust basis for assessing and comparing shelters constructed in southern Pakistan. Ultimately, this study will contribute to an evidence-based construction guide informed by best practice that can be used by policy makers, operational agencies and local builders.

The overall approach to this study is described in section 2. The key findings from the desk study and fieldwork are summarised in sections 3-5. Section 6 discusses how the criteria, indicators and metrics for assessing shelter solutions have evolved in the course of this study. A research methodology to substantiate these metrics, and carry out a comparative assessment of shelter designs to inform construction guidelines is provided in section 7. The report concludes in section 8 with observations and recommendations relevant to further work on this topic.