Improving shelter safety is an important goal of post-disaster shelter reconstruction programs. Shelter safety depends on both the initial design and construction of the shelter and on the maintenance and modifications made by the household over the shelter’s lifespan. Thus, both designers’ and households’ knowledge and perceptions of safety influence the achieved safety. With the long-term goal of improving shelter safety, we conducted research in Leyte and Eastern Samar in the Philippines to (1) characterize household perceptions of shelter safety through survey administration and statistical analysis, (2) assess structural performance of shelters in future hazards through engineering assessments, and (3) understand alignments and differences between household perceptions and engineering assessments through interviews and qualitative analysis. Overall, while we found that households’ perceptions of which shelter components were safe or vulnerable generally aligned with engineering assessments, households often did not fully understand how components worked together as a shelter system and, thus planned to modify their shelters in ways that could make their shelter more susceptible to damage in hazards. We recommend that shelter practitioners include additional training and education on shelter as a system and how design choices influence shelter safety in future shelter programming.

Venable, C.Javernick-Will, A., and Liel, A. (2020). "Household Perceptions of Shelter Safety in Typhoons and Earthquakes: Takeaways from Leyte and Eastern Samar Six Years After Typhoon Yolanda." University of Colorado Boulder.