India

Standard Operating Procedures: Post Disaster Needs Assessment India

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The Government of India, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and with the assistance of National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has developed the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Tools for India under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project assisted by the World Bank. The objective of these tools is to establish a standardized mechanism based on scientific approach for conducting post disaster needs assessment for recovery and reconstruction. The newly developed tools are based on the existing damage assessment system in India and an internationally-accepted methodology, which has been used worldwide and adopted by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), the European Union (EU) and the World Bank (WB), which signed a joint declaration in 2008 on Post-Crisis Assessments and Recovery Planning.

The tools have been prepared with the technical assistance of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). The PDNA India tools have three parts as follows;

  1. PDNA India Handbook

  2. PDNA India Manual

  3. PDNA India SoP

Rationale for the Indian PDNA Tool

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) has been adapted for India, on the basis of best current international practices and customized to local conditions, which will enable the comprehensive and scientific assessment of recovery and reconstruction needs on the basis of a thorough analysis of disaster effects and impacts. This methodology should not be seen as a replacement or substitute for the existing approach which States use for the development of the Relief Memorandum. It should be noted that the methodology treats recovery and reconstruction following a disaster as a separate and additional area of disaster management, while building resilience to future events. To undertake this new methodology, a core team of sector specialists from State and National levels must be trained. In this way, the burden of work of the Revenue Commissioners will not be increased.

A thorough analysis has been made of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system for estimation of disaster effects and impacts and of recovery and reconstruction needs assessment in India.

This analysis, conducted in light of current international practices, reveals that the existing system in India may be described as relief-centered. While the existing system is efficient in defining the amounts of relief assistance to be provided to affected population in accordance to previously-defined criteria, and enables the prompt disbursing, such assistance to disaster-affected people, it does not enable the comprehensive and systematic estimation of overall disaster impact nor the scientific estimation of recovery and reconstruction needs and the estimation of financial requirements for such purpose. The data collected for such response assessments is insufficient to enable a full and scientific analysis of the consequences of the disaster on living conditions, quality of life and on the socio-economic development of those who are affected. As a result, recovery is left almost exclusively to the initiative and the capacity of each affected person and takes an unnecessarily long time, thus frustrating people´s aspirations and delaying their return to normal levels of wellbeing.

In addition, relief assistance at the present time is only provided to part of the affected population – i.e. mostly to the poorer strata of the affected population – and not all affected sectors of the economy are included, which is not conducive to a prompt recovery. Furthermore, the amounts of response assistance are clearly insufficient for affected families to enable them to rebuild their destroyed assets; in the absence of other sources of capital for reconstruction, people resort to rebuild their homes and other assets applying lower standards of quality and using inadequate construction materials and disaster risk – rather than being reduced – is increased after disasters.

Sectors of economic activity under private ownership are not included in the existing system of disaster assessment, apparently because it is assumed that they have sufficient savings and/or insurance to meet post-disaster requirements. This assumption is evidently only partially valid since not every enterprise – especially small to medium size companies – has such a capacity and insurance is only held by one out of seven such entities. Leaving out such large portions of the economy – and it is to be remembered that publicly-owned activities represent only 20 per cent of all activities in the economy – further limits recovery efforts and have a negative bearing on people´s livelihoods, since many jobs are under the purview of the private sector that is unable to recover promptly. Households thus lose employment and income for a longer time after disasters.

Data on disaster effects, collected on the basis of the existing system, is insufficient to enable a full analysis of disaster impact in macro-economic and macro-social terms, despite the fact that India has an excellent database on socioeconomic indicators. Thus, assessments do not include an examination of social and economic disaster impact, which may be used as the basis for defining needs for recovery and disaster-resilient reconstruction.

Analyses conducted under the India PDNA study reveals that overall socio-economic growth in the country and in the disaster-affected States is hindered by the impact of disasters. In many cases, gross domestic production slows down and the State and Central government fiscal position deteriorates after disasters in view of disaster-induced diminishing tax receipts and increased expenditures. At the personal or household level, disasters induce significant reductions in income through losses in employment and livelihoods, increase costs of living due to scarcity and inflation, thereby worsening quality of life and human development.

Therefore, there is a need for India to be more recovery-and reconstruction-oriented and the government should be more concerned about achieving a prompt and all-inclusive recovery as well as disaster-resilient reconstruction that involves reduction of disaster risk. This does not require that the government should assign financial resources to cover private sector needs; it only means that the government (at Central and State levels) should endeavor to assess disaster impact for the entire economy and society so that both public and private sectors may (simultaneously and in a concerted fashion) define and finance recovery and reconstruction after disasters.