The IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) has announced the release of their updated edition of the landmark publication Shelter After Disaster by Ian Davis originally published in 1982 published by UNDRO, the predecessor of UNOCHA. Now available as a free e-book, the Shelter After Disaster 2nd Edition features new content from the original authors in the form of brief observations, new references and additional case studies of more recent disasters that provide an overview of the trends and developments in humanitarian shelter over the past 30+ years.

“The book in many ways defined the humanitarian shelter sector as we know it today,” says head of the Federation’s Shelter and Settlements program Graham Saunders. “For many of us it was, and remains, the key publication, outlining 14 principles each underpinned by evidence drawn from the disasters both recent –for 1982–such as the 1976 Guatemala earthquake, and longer term, such as the San Francisco earthquake in 1906.”

The new edition incorporates several new case studies of recent disasters

The IFRC has been using this publication as a one of the key references for its university-accredited shelter courses, including our program’s Humanitarian Shelter & Settlements workshop. It’s first two principles remain very relevant today:

  1. Resources of survivors: The primary resource in the provision of post-disaster shelter is the grass-roots motivation of survivors, their friends and families. Assisting groups can help, but they must avoid duplicating anything best undertaken by survivors themselves.
  2. Allocation of roles for assisting groups:  The success of a relief and rehabilitation operation depends on the correct and logical distribution of roles. Ideally, this allocation should be undertaken by the local authorities who are best qualified to decide who should do what, when and where. However, if the local administration is too weak to assume this responsibility, the priority must be to strengthen it.

Shelter After Disaster 2nd Edition was launched on Monday 6th July at UCL’s i-Rec conference in London on the theme of Reconstruction and Recovery in Uban Contexts.

Hard copies of the re-edition have also been made available for purchase, and can be obtained by contacting Rea Ivanek at

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar
Verified by MonsterInsights