Afghanistan Post-Earthquake Evaluation Mission

Message sent to some UN agencies (FAO Geneva, HABITAT Geneva, UNDP Geneva, UNHCR Geneva, UNICEF Geneva, WFP Geneva, WHO Geneva, ICRC Geneva, IFRC Geneva, Médecins sans Frontières Geneva, Médecins sans Frontières Belgium, OXFAM UK, MERLIN London) regarding the mission of evaluation following the earthquake in Afghanistan.
1. With reference to the earthquake which hit northern Afghanistan on 4 February 1998, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator recommended that an independent evaluation of the UN system-wide response to the disaster would be useful. It was foreseen that such an evaluation could look into local/regional preparedness and response mechanisms, coordination arrangements, information flow and attempt to draw lessons learnt from what was in many sense a worse case scenario. This evaluation should also consider ways of building up a regional response capacity.

2. To perform this task, OCHA has identified a consultant familiar with the overall situation/region who will conduct the study from 22 April to 15 May 1998. The Terms of Reference for the evaluation, developed in consultation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan, are attached.

3. The consultant will be contacting UN agencies as well as other organizations involved in the initial phase of the response, and her schedule is as follows (subject to change):

22 - 27 April 1998 Geneva
28 April Travel to Islamabad
29 April to 11 May Islamabad/affected area in northern Afghanistan
11 May Travel to Geneva
12 - 15 May Geneva (writing up of the report)

4. For further information, please contact either the responsible Desk Officer, Mr. Rudolf Mueller, TelNo.: +41 22 917 3131/ or Ms. Sarah Longford directly, e-mail:


Terms of Reference

1) Objective

The objective of the post-disaster evaluation is to assess the UN system-wide response to the Rustaq earthquake and to prepare a detailed account on it as well as to make proposals on ways to build up a regional response capacity.

2) Evaluator

Ms. Sarah Longford, Consultant

The evaluation mission will be conducted on behalf of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The findings of the evaluation will be made available to the UN system, donors and international relief agencies/organizations involved in the response to the earthquake.

3) Suggested Timeframe

Four weeks in April/May 1998. The evaluation would include a mission to Geneva to assess the performance of the responsible desk and to contact other international organizations. A mission to Islamabad and, if possible, to the earthquake-affected area, to evaluate the response/coordination activities of UN agencies would be part of the overall task.

4) Main Tasks

Summarize the course of events in the initial phase of the disaster (reasons for the delays, problems encountered in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan to obtain accurate information)

Analyse the reasons for the delay in responding to the emergency

Evaluate the international aid contributed in response to the first UN appeals/situation reports, in terms of its timeliness, suitability, coverage vis-a-vis actual needs and its complementarity to other efforts (in particular those of ICRC) and impact (to which quality of life has been improved)

Review of the role of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team in Islamabad, Peshawar and Rustaq

Analyse reasons for logistical bottlenecks and use of stand-by arrangements, and how these could be improved

Look into local/regional preparedness and response mechanisms (involvement of local capacities in response to the emergency)

Look into coordination arrangements and information flows

Identify any lessons learned by the UN system when responding to future disasters in Afghanistan

Prepare a thorough account on the findings of the evaluation

Thank you for your cooperation.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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