Shelter in Urban Emergencies
Shelter in Urban Emergencies is a RedR UK training event in conjuction with LLoyds trust. The aim of the training is to bring together experienced Shelter humanitarians as presenters and participants to explore and develop the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively work in the early stages of an urban emergency.
Aid agencies have struggled to effectively respond recent urban emergencies. One of the main gaps of response is a lack of Shelter experts with urban response expertise. An urban emergency is much more complex than many rural or camp-focused emergencies. The kind of response required is greatly affected by the type of disaster and the different urban environments, whether huge cities; medium sized towns; peri-urban or slum areas. Aid agencies are much less significant players in urban responses, as their available resources are often dwarfed by those of existing service providers.
It is crucial for effective urban disaster response to build strong relations with national and municipal authorities as well as private sector service suppliers, and to work within existing legislation and long term plans for the cities.
Working with communities is as important as ever, but communities are less tightly defined and engagement becomes more complex: communities are unlikely to be geographically-identified but instead based around common interests or, for instance, income opportunities. Typical emergency Shelter responses are often inappropriate in urban areas: local authorities and existing infrastructure must be respected; camp setups are not always an appropriate solution or physically possible as space is limited and land ownership disputed.