USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) remains at the forefront of the humanitarian community’s shelter and settlements (S&S) activities, which focus on a common goal: the expeditious and appropriate provision of covered living space to adequately shelter displaced populations, while also promoting safer, healthier settlements that link emergency S&S assistance to longer-term recovery efforts.
USAID/OFDA contributes to the international humanitarian community’s broader S&S strategic framework through participation in the Shelter and Settlements Working Group (SSWG)— an open membership group hosted by InterAction—and the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action. USAID/OFDA also participates in Global Shelter and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster activities.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $81 million for humanitarian S&S assistance and shelter-related disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities, including nearly $80 million for S&S interventions in 24 countries and more than $1.1 million for global and regional S&S initiatives.
Engaged in Humanitarian “S&S” Activities Around the World
USAID/OFDA S&S advisors deployed throughout FY 2016 to serve on a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DART), conduct field assessments, design sector strategies, and monitor project activities. Travel to affected areas entailed conducting land and housing market analyses to better understand impacts, needs, and resources, as well as engaging with affected populations, cluster lead agencies, host country institutions, and implementing partners. Following the April 2016 Ecuador earthquake, an S&S advisor served on the Ecuador DART to ensure timely access to shelter and develop strategies to improve the living conditions of disaster-affected populations. Throughout FY 2016, S&S advisors worked closely with regional and field teams to provide guidance on sector strategies, including in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine. The S&S team’s contingency planning for a potential failure of Iraq’s Mosul Dam, as well as contingency planning for potential conflict-induced displacement from the city of Mosul, are of particular note. S&S advisors also participated in discussions with USAID colleagues and other stakeholders on post-earthquake housing reconstruction in Nepal, reflecting growing engagement on recovery issues, such as more effective promotion of the transition from humanitarian shelter to housing reconstruction. Central to nearly all efforts throughout FY 2016 was the identification of opportunities for the incorporation of DRR measures into S&S sector programming, where needed and appropriate. Finally, USAID/OFDA S&S advisors participated in the research and evaluation of plastic sheeting, solar-powered lights, and other non-food items, often in concert with other humanitarian agencies.