Written by Ladylyn Lim Mangada.
In November 2013 Super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) displaced 4.1 million people. More than one million houses were destroyed. The economic damage was estimated to be 14.5 USD billion. Tacloban City, the largest urban center and hub of the Eastern Visayas region suffered catastrophic damage. 28,700 houses were totally damaged and 17,600 were partially damaged. Of those damaged houses, 90% were in low-lying coastal areas and were primarily occupied by informal settlers or the urban poor. The rebuilding of settlements in Tacloban has proven to be a protracted and contentious process. This short article argues that it has been essential for survivors to be involved in a transparent process of ‘building back better’ in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda.