Bangladesh, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tonga.

Providing legal information and advice to those affected by a natural disaster.

From 2016-2017 and again in 2019, Allens provided pro bono assistance to the Red Cross.

With climate change exacerbating climate instability and the incidence of natural disasters increasing, humanitarian agencies are working harder than ever to provide support. The Red Cross coordinates the Shelter Cluster, part of the humanitarian response that responds after natural disasters to provide assistance. The Shelter Cluster is the coordination mechanism that supports people affected by natural disasters and internally displaced people in conflicts with the means to live in a safe, dignified, and appropriate shelter.

The Red Cross asked Allens to collect and analyze information about housing, land, and property law in a number of locations identified as at high risk for a natural disaster. Allens worked with the agency to develop a clear template in which to present information. Teams were allocated to research each jurisdiction and compile the relevant information, with a centralized coordinator to ensure consistency. Allens prepared reports on PNG, Bangladesh, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Indonesia. 

 These resources allow humanitarian agencies when deployed to one of these areas, to identify and navigate the local regulatory environment, so that people who need shelter assistance get help faster and receive the right kind of support.

Tom Bamforth, the Global Focal Point for the Shelter Cluster at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the project would help the Red Cross provide quicker, more effective shelter in the immediate aftermath of a disaster:

In urban areas, if a multi storey, multi tenanted building collapses, who do you help? The owner? The tenant? How do you prove that you were living there when the building no longer exists? In rural areas, the issues are around documentation,” Tom said. “This project will ensure that humanitarian workers and international coordination systems are better placed to respond quickly and effectively by having a pre-existing analysis of key factors underpinning housing vulnerability.”