Post-disaster needs assessments

 Assessing the damage in Tacloban, six months after Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: Lesley Wright/UNDP Philippines.

Disasters cause large-scale damage and losses to countries on a regular basis. They destroy infrastructure, disrupt basic services and cause the loss of lives and livelihoods. Countries that experience disasters invest significant resources in restoring livelihoods, rebuilding infrastructure and rebuilding assets so that communities are better prepared to face future disasters.
However, in the rush to respond to the needs of communities, resources are utilized without a sound analysis of the impact of the disaster. Hastily conceived recovery plans that are not informed by a sound needs assessment can result in narrowly focused programs that benefit only certain people and certain regions of an affected country, which in turn can create disparities and conflicts between communities. Sound post-disaster assessments are crucial—they inform the recovery process and determine the extent of damage, as well as accurately identify the needs and priorities of affected populations.

UNDP assists national governments in conducting detailed assessments of disasters by using a tool known as a Post-disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). The main goal of the PDNA is to assess the full extent of a disaster’s impact and define the needs for national recovery. A PDNA looks ahead to restoring damaged infrastructure, livelihoods, services, governance and social systems while enhancing resilience and reducing future disaster risks. Its findings serve as the basis for designing a recovery strategy and a guide for donor funding.

The PDNA was designed and is conducted jointly with the World Bank, EU and partner UN agencies. Since 2008, over 30 PDNAs have been undertaken, dealing with the effects of cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, floods, tropical storms, tsunami and typhoons.

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