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< prev - next > Disaster response mitigation and rebuilding Reconstruction pcr_tool_4_assessment (Printable PDF)
Assessment of Reconstruction Needs
and Resources
Assessment of reconstruction needs and resources
is essential for successful recovery after a disaster.
It ensures that those involved in helping with the
reconstruction process both understand fully the
needs of the affected people, and have up-to-
date knowledge of the available local resources
so that any deficit can be met by reconstruction
agencies or authorities can. In order to reduce the
vulnerability of those affected, these assessments
must focus not only on rebuilding and repairing
damaged or destroyed houses and infrastructure,
but also on rebuilding people’s livelihoods and
restoring local markets.
Such assessments are also important as they:
support communities in rebuilding and recovery;
ensure that the planning and coordination of
reconstruction activities is relevant and responsive
to the needs of communities, particularly the
vulnerable; and ensure recovery work is focused on
the priorities of disaster-affected people rather than
those of civil servants or aid workers. In addition,
involving affected communities in assessment
implementation, working alongside NGOs and
local authorities, enables stakeholders to work in
partnership, make informed decisions together, and
pave the way for participatory reconstruction.
Field workers involved in reconstruction need to
be aware that the vulnerabilities of those affected
will vary across a target location. Some vulnerable
groups such as the landless, the elderly or those
discriminated on the grounds of gender, religion
or cast, exist even before the onset of the disaster.
Yet the disaster itself will have also created new
vulnerabilities: some households may have lost a
breadwinner, others may have become disabled,
and some people may have lost far more assets
than others. Assessments need to be designed
to clearly identify all vulnerable groups and their
specific needs and available resources. Data
collected need to be disaggregated by sex, age,
family size and composition, income. The legal
status of vulnerable groups with respect to land and
property ownership needs to be reviewed.
People’s needs and priorities change constantly
from the moment a disaster occurs, through the
emergency and relief phases, and into rehabilitation
and recovery. This particular tool only focuses on
the latter phase, but it does recognise that the
various phases overlap, and that reconstruction
needs to be planned early on in the process. After
a disaster, assessments may be made at various
stages. The early assessments of the emergency
and relief phases, or those of the needs for
transitional housing, can often provide much useful
information for planning reconstruction. Such
assessments include, for instance:
The Flash Report, usually produced within
24 hours of a disaster occurring, providing
estimates of damage, casualties and the
reconstruction task.
The Initial Report, usually produced within a
week, providing more detailed information on
damage, casualties and success in meeting
immediate needs, by location.
Interim Reports, which are regular updates of
the Initial Report.
The production of these early reports is not
covered in this tool, since they are generally well
documented. More detailed information about
them by the IASC (2007), Leon (2007), the
SPHERE project (2004) and USAID (1998) can
be found in ‘Resources’ at the end of this tool.
How to carry out a needs and
resources assessment?
The needs and resources assessment differs
greatly from the rapid assessment which is done
to determine the immediate needs for relief. In
the latter, agencies typically study a sample of
0.1 to 1.0% of the disaster-affected population,
and extrapolate the results to represent the whole
population. Using such data in combination with
GIS images or aerial photographs can provide
quite good estimates of immediate relief needs.
This method, however, is largely top-down and
quantitative. Conversely, planning reconstruction
should be bottom-up, qualitative and incorporate
the following principles: