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Guidelines for assessing the human impact of disasters

Source(s):  European Union (EU)
United Nations Development Programme - Headquarters (UNDP)
World Bank, the (WB)

In 2013, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, the World Bank and the European Union jointly published the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) guidelines. The overarching purpose of these guidelines are to provide improved support to governments in post-disaster recovery assessments and planning through a coordinated approach. The more immediate objective of the guidelines is to provide an agreed framework and predictable arrangements for effective, efficient and coordinated support from the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank to governments requesting international assistance for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. At present, the PDNA guidelines comprise two volumes: Volume A and Volume B.

This document, Guidelines for Assessing the Human Impact of Disasters, has been developed as part of the PDNA guidelines, and similarly follows a people-centred, human-recovery approach. Volume A of the PDNA guidelines facilitates the planning and organization of the PDNA, presents the assessment approach and outlines the process and steps for conducting a PDNA. Volume B provides technical guidance for sector-specific assessments aimed at technical experts who participate in the PDNA.

A people-centred, human-recovery approach to post-disaster assessment and recovery focuses on the following elements:

  • the human development impact of disasters
  • the distinct needs and priorities of women, girls, boys and men of all ages and subgroups of affected populations, through stakeholder engagement
  • the participation of affected stakeholders in their own recovery process
  • recognition of and support to spontaneous recovery efforts for the affected population
  • consideration of the sociocultural aspects of disaster recovery, in addition to economic imperatives 
  • measures to build resilient communities and societies

​These guidelines aim to ensure that the human impact of disasters is accurately assessed during a PDNA. This is especially important, as the assessment exercise is crucial in forging links between initial humanitarian efforts, recovery measures and longer-term development.



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  • Guidelines for assessing the human impact of disasters
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Trujillo, Monica
  • Number of pages 50 p.

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