Department of Nursing, Boroujen School of Nursing, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

In the aftermath of disasters, frequent assessments will be conducted to understand the situation and provide required resources for meeting the needs of people in the affected areas. These assessments might be conducted in different stages such as rapid assessments in the early hours of the disaster to a more comprehensive and detailed assessment which provide the basic information for recovery. Different tools and approaches have been developed to assess post-disaster needs.
To reach a standard approach, a joint effort was made in 2008 by the European :union: (EU), the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) to develop a comprehensive and harmonized tool to assess post disaster needs. This effort led to the development of Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) approach which incorporates assessment of damage and loss following disaster, prioritizing the needs of the affected and developing recovery strategies considering Building Back Better (BBB) approach. PDNA includes a comprehensive assessment of the effects and impacts of a disaster from the community, provincial to the national level, combining social, economic and financial aspects of the effects of the disasters across different sectors. The PDNA addresses the following sectors:
  • Social Sectors: Housing and Settlements; Education; Health and Nutrition; Culture.
  • Productive Sectors: Agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry; Employment and livelihoods; Industry, commerce and trade, Tourism.
  • Infrastructure Sectors: Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); Community infrastructure; Energy & electricity; Transport and telecommunications.
  • Cross-cutting Sectors/Themes: Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Governance; Environment; Gender; HIV/AIDS and Age.
The core elements of the PDNA are collection of baseline information, assessment of disaster effects and impacts and developing recovery strategy, and finally determining sector recovery needs.
The PDNA starts with gathering data on pre-disaster situation. The costs of damage, loss, and BBB as a result of disaster are estimated and recovery needs are prioritized. Disaster effects are included damage to infrastructure and physical assets in all sectors, disruption of service delivery and governance and social processes and increased risk and vulnerability. Disaster impacts mainly focus on macroeconomic and human impacts of the disaster (1, 2).
To assess the effects and impacts of disaster, a contextualized Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) tool for each sector will provide cost estimation of damage and loss of the affected areas as well as the cost required to building back better. DaLA results will be the basis for prioritizing the needs and developing recovery strategy. The PDNA will ensure to keep cross cutting issues such as gender perspective in all sectors, focus on the most vulnerable people, including female-headed households, children, and people with special needs, the youth and the elderly. (2).
As of mid-2017, 55 PDNAs have been conducted around the world. Although UN agencies will support counterpart line ministries and organizations to conduct PDNA, it is a government led process with the highest involvement of national authorities. Incorporating BBB approach in developing recovery strategy will promote resilience of communities for future disasters (1).