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close this bookAn Overview of Disaster Management (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1992, 136 p.)
close this folderChapter 10. Disaster assessment 1
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentObjectives of assessment
View the documentThe assessment process
View the documentAssessments for different disaster types
View the documentHow assessment data is used


1 This chapter has been drawn from the UNDP/UNDRO training module Disaster Assessment by Rob Stephenson of the Relief and Development Institute.

Assessment is the process of determining the impact of a disaster on a society. The first priority is to establish the needs for immediate emergency measures to save and sustain the lives of survivors. The second priority is to identify the possibilities for facilitating and expediting recovery and development.

Assessment is an interdisciplinary process undertaken in phases and involving on-the-spot surveys and the collation, evaluation and interpretation of information from various sources. These surveys concern both direct and indirect losses as well as the short- and long-term effects. Assessment involves determining not only what has happened and what assistance might be needed, but also defines objectives and how relevant assistance can actually be provided to the victims.

Some assessments are specifically conducted as damage assessments. They include the preparation of specific, quantified estimates of physical damage resulting from a disaster. The damage assessment may also include recommendations concerning the repair, reconstruction or replacement of structures, and equipment, as well as the restoration of economic activities.