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The First Gender-Responsive Evacuation Centre in the Visayas Region

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Women, particularly mothers, are the key movers during evacuation. Many evacuation centres in the Philippines are improvised from existing public structures such as schools and gymnasiums. While these structures can provide immediate shelter while a catastrophe is in progress, they lack of facilities to address the longer-term inhabitation of families. This lack of facilities becomes a challenge for women and mothers who assume care responsibilities related to cooking, laundry, health for their families.

This evacuation centre in Antique conceptualised by our firm Curiosity's partners, women's rights NGO WeDpro/ Aida F. Santos and architect Pia Maranan, in collaboration with residents and local officials has features that address the need for facilities for women who assume care responsibilities during emergencies. Built according to National Building Code standards for a hazard area and through design consultation with residents, the centre:

- once the two stories are completed can house 600 people in the short term and 40 families in the long term (with one floor it can hold half these numbers)

- features multiple toilet and shower stalls

- multiple cooking facilities and laundry areas

- ramps for senior citizens and PWDs

- provisions for an office and a clinic

- built on higher ground to avoid flooding, adjacent to 5 barangays, near the highway and close to a hospital.

While it was an option to build temporary bunkhouses but with less quality materials, our project team, together with the residents advocated for a single permanent disaster-resilient facility that could be used by multiple barangays.

The provincial DRRM officer first structure purposely built for such a purpose in the Visayas and hopefully just one of many to come. It was inaugurated upon completion of the first floor and was used immediately after to accommodate evacuees affected by Typhoon Ruby.

Image Credit: Oliver Salva

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