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. 



Continuation of 3.5.

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3.5.2. Recovery policies 

With the idea that the country’s recovery process should be developed around the opportunities for development that the context offers, recovery/reconstruction policies should be comprehensive, designed to produce safer communities by intelligent application of cost-effective risk reduction measures, territorial land use regulations, policies for local economic recovery, incorporation of the public and private sectors, and participation of the affected populations in designing and planning reconstruction and capacity development in vulnerable populations. Health sector policies should incorporate risk reduction for health facilities and the enhancement of preparedness. 

3.5.3. Strategic plan and objectives 

The formulation of a strategic plan for recovery includes short- and medium-term objectives for agencies or institutions working in post-disaster recovery and defines specific plans, programs, and projects. The Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti includes a proposal for the territorial, economic, social, and institutional restructuring of the country. Strategic plans for reconstruction generally reflect both social and economic variables that, if addressed, are expected to generate positive change, based on a clear formulation of the vision, mission, and objectives of recovery, as well as the expected results.

The strategic plan should define a work agenda and objectives in the framework of the development plan, both for the early recovery phase and for reconstruction. The strategic objectives specify the achievements sought within a given timeframe.

It is important that the health sector of an affected country take advantage of post-disaster opportunities. If, for example, there were inequities in the health system prior to the disaster, recovery strategies can help lay a foundation for improvement.

It is important to take the following intervention strategies into account in formulating a recovery plan:

  • Reestablishing safe basic infrastructure.
  • Institution building
  • A long-term vision
  • Promoting—and training—national leadership
  • Working with new partners and strengthening the capacity of local partners and civil society
  • Promoting an agenda of local reform and change
  • Ensuring proper linkages between the post-disaster phases
  • Addressing coordination with other sectors
  • Aligning the activities supported by donors with government policy, strategies, and systems

Intervention strategies for early rehabilitation and reconstruction should focus on programs and activities where implementation can guarantee substantive change. During the national recovery program, the health sector should view the impact of the disaster in a holistic manner to accurately gauge projects in other sectors and their potential impact on the health sector.

3.5.4. Sources of financing

Recovery requires an extraordinary level of expenditures that often are beyond the reach of the affected country. Thus, countries must work with a variety of sources, both domestic and international, to address:

  • Lack of availability of national emergency or disaster funds
  • Reprogramming of sectoral budgets
  • Levying new taxes
  • International humanitarian assistance (donations)
  • External credit from funding agencies or institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and others.

3.5.5. Monitoring and evaluation

The monitoring process allows for the collection of information on the progress of work; the analysis of this data helps to keep the activities called for in the action plan on track and to make adjustments as needed. The evaluation process makes it possible to judge achievements against objectives and to gain important experience and lessons learned from the recovery. Learn more about the monitoring and evaluation process here

Read more in the WHO guidance note on recovery in the health sector.


3.6. Health ministries’ role in reconstruction

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3.6.1.Organization of the ministry of health and its incorporation in the PDNA process and in reconstruction planning

3 6 1 organizacionWhen a country is affected by a disaster, the ministry of health should, from the beginning, take a very active role on reconstruction committees or councils. The definition of needs should be solidly based on the assessment of damage, losses, and the strategic approach that health authorities wish to promote to recover and improve physical infrastructure, equipment, and the operation of services affected by the disaster.