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close this bookRehabilitation and Reconstruction - 1st Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1993, 47 p.)
close this folderPart 1 - Scope of rehabilitation and reconstruction
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentNature of the disaster
View the documentScale of the damage
View the documentLocation of the event
View the documentSectors affected
View the documentLosses
View the documentResulting needs
View the documentAvailable resources
View the documentPolitical commitment
View the documentActors involved in the reconstruction
View the documentSummary

Resulting needs

The assessment of needs that will arise from immediate and consequential losses will help to prioritize the rehabilitation and reconstruction actions. Initial assessment of a disaster naturally focuses on emergency needs, however, the losses that occur in each sector correspond to a wide range of needs to be met by the local communities, various ministries, local authority departments, NGOs and sometimes international donors and agencies. From the start of the emergency onwards, each of these groups will be making jointly, or separately, some assessment of the situation initially for relief response and eventually for rehabilitation and reconstruction decisions. Conflict of opinions and difference of perceptions on what is needed in what priority will be all too common.

Creating a clear picture of the situation for decision-making involves collecting reliable information on each sector by experienced staff.

Creating a clear picture of the situation for decision making involves collecting reliable information on each sector by experienced staff. It also requires consultation with the affected communities and their leaders in order to establish their perceptions and priorities. A comprehensive analysis of data collection and assessment processes are in the module, Disaster Assessment, in this series. The critical issues which relate to rehabilitation and reconstruction can be summarized as follows:

Monitor the situation in order to make decisions for the long-term inputs which may sometimes be based on early, fragmentary assessment of the situation. Continuous monitoring of the changes as the situation develops is essential in order to revise the decisions. For example shelter needs may increase due to aftershocks, the long stay of flood water on the ground or by climatic changes such as the onset of monsoon rains. Equally, availability of building stock and migration to other areas can reduce this need.

Balance psychological, social and economic needs with physical ones. High physical damage may distort the focus of attention to the neglect of other less tangible needs.

Recognize that communities are not homogenous. Some groups such as the politically well-connected or the economically better off can be more vocal in voicing their needs. Additional assessment may be necessary to cover the specific needs of the disadvantaged groups: the elderly, children, single headed families, physical or mentally handicapped, the very poor, minorities etc. Generalized response targeting the average surviving family may leave out those most in need of support.

Consider the less obvious needs. They may be essential in meeting the high investment inputs. For example, supporting administration, creating work for the disaster victims can speed up physical recovery.

Distinguish needs from wants. Disasters can increase expectations at all levels: communities from the authorities, local government from the central government, national governments from the international donors. Rank the needs and prioritize the necessary inputs to improve the conditions for the worst affected and the least able groups Identify the capacities and resources of the affected population. Do not assume that they are passive victims and aim to strengthen what is available for increased self reliance. This also applies to the strengthening of the local authorities and the national bodies.

Identify the un-met needs at each stage of decision making. As the situation develops conditions, problems and availability of resources change.

Ensure that the needs in all sectors and affected areas are assessed. There is often a tendency to focus on the worst affected areas, the most tangible or easily quantifiable damage. Equally, the make up of the assessment team or the bias of an agency can create a distorted picture of needs by highlighting the selected sectors where they have expertise.

Identify the critical needs upon which other sectors may depend for recovery. Business and industry cannot function without communication, transport and energy facilities; provision of health facilities will be meaningless without available staff, medicine and equipment; physical reconstruction requires production of construction materials; rural areas depend on market centers and vice versa.

Ensure that the assessment also covers what is not needed. Provisions that are not needed or are inappropriate can have an adverse effect on the recovery process. It is therefore essential that the assessment highlights what is locally available or manageable and hence should not be provided, as well as stating what will not be socially economically, or culturally appropriate.