One strand of the research related to the ‘wider impacts’ workstream of the project is concerned with the health aspects of shelter/emergency and transitional housing and on the beneficial impacts that shelter assistance could have on people recovering from natural disaster and conflict. We are aiming to gather knowledge and expertise from others in the shelter sector, as well as those in other humanitarian and development/public health sectors.
The Global Shelter Cluster increasingly recognises the huge numbers affected by shelter and settlement-related health issues (such as respiratory infections linked to household air pollution) that contribute to the burden of disease in crisis situations. Currently, rebuilding guidelines focus on ‘safer’ building regarding earthquake/storm resistance, sidelining or even ignoring potentially important health issues. Perhaps the shelter sector should be incorporating relevant health messages into emergency response and its guidance for disaster-affected populations who are rebuilding?
Another important area of research is the connection between humanitarian shelter and mental health. We are investigating this through our second Shelter and Health Learning Event in May 2021.
Project team members Sue Webb and Emma Weinstein Sheffield published a blog in April 2020 on the implications of COVID-19 for shelter assistance. The current crisis has highlighted already-existing connections between poor shelter and health.
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Oxford Brookes University