3.5. Components of a reconstruction plan

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Post-disaster reconstruction is a complex challenge that requires careful intersectoral and multidisciplinary planning. The essential components at this stage are:

3.5.1. Damage and loss assessment to estimate the socioeconomic impact of the disaster (DaLA) and post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA)

Assessing the damage and losses caused by a disaster—its impact on the economy, impact on the society, the economic value of lost infrastructure, impact on the social fabric, and finally, impact on development is of paramount importance.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has developed a methodology for assessing the socioeconomic and environmental impact of disasters (DaLA). Initially, the methodology concentrated on natural hazards only, but it has expanded and is now looks at the health impact as well. In use in over 45 events, it has repeatedly demonstrated the Iink between disasters and development. 

This damage and loss assessment tool contributes to planning for reconstruction, since having an estimate of a disaster’s impact on the social and production sectors, basic services infrastructure, and macroeconomic factors, among other variables, paves the way for a realistic view of needs. In the health sector, the damage and loss assessment method gives a comprehensive picture of damage (to infrastructure and equipment) and losses (in terms of the sector’s economic metrics), as well as negative impact of these factors on the macroeconomy.

The United Nations, the World Bank and the European Commission are signatories of a tripartite agreement to develop a methodology called the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and Recovery Framework (PDNA/RF) that includes two approaches: (i) quantifying physical damage and economic losses (based on the ECLAC methodology), and (ii) identifying needs for recovery in human development (based on intersectoral and horizontal methodologies). The two approaches are incorporated into a single assessment process that helps to identify and prioritize options for early recovery and reconstruction within a ‘recovery framework’ that is a key product of the PDNA (PDNA Fast Facts).

The government of the affected country leads the assessment, with technical and financial support from the international community, and seeks to find a credible and coordinated basis for planning the country’s physical and social rehabilitation by providing a multisectoral approach for all actors.

This multisectoral approach gives national authorities, specialized agencies, and donor governments a common framework for understanding and coordination that facilitates more coherent and organized post-disaster recovery work, from the planning process to results in socioeconomic and institutional areas, within a timeframe established in the recovery plan.

The PDNA was used for the first time in the Americas after the earthquake in Haiti, and subsequently in Guatemala in the wake of tropical storm Agatha (Spanish only).

How PDNA links emergency response with long-term reconstruction and development

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The PDNA includes the following steps:

  • Establishing a baseline that includes long-term human development policies and risk-reduction objectives
  • Determining the impact of the disaster
  • Identifying needs for recovery and classifying and assessing damage and losses
  • Prioritizing needs and analyzing response options
  • Developing a recovery framework

The PDNA guidelines also call for each sector to develop consistent methodologies that take account of the following information relating to recovery strategy:

Recovery considerations

  • Description of areas or issues that are dependent on other sectors and the links established and/or needed for recovery interventions to yield successful and coordinated results
  • Socioeconomic groups
  • Sector-specific recovery focus
  • Temporary factors
  • Cross-cutting issues in the sector and how they will be addressed to ensure the expected results of recovery interventions

Sector-specific recovery strategy, goals, expected results, recovery strategy, and indicators for monitoring and evaluation

  • Statement on the sector’s long-term expected results from the recovery process
  • Description of the short and long-term recovery strategy
  • Response options prioritized, and monitoring and evaluation results and indicators, objectives, and mechanisms defined for:
    • Early recovery, including measures to reduce future risk
    • Long-term recovery, including measures to reduce future risk
  • Principal hypotheses behind the proposed strategy and the expected recovery results
  • Key benchmarks for the proposed monitoring strategy and expected results