Thursday, August 26, 2010

ADB and WB to lead damage assessment

SLAMABAD: The damage and needs assessment of Pakistan following calamitous floods will be conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). Reconstruction efforts will be initiated following assessments of losses caused by the flooding.

The ADB and the WB were invited by Pakistan to lead the assessment and have been requested to complete the survey by mid-October.

A conference in Islamabad to obtain pledges for the upcoming multi-billion-dollar reconstruction and rehabilitation phase will follow the assessment.

Sixteen areas, divided in half between the ADB and the WB, will be covered in the survey. The survey will focus on estimating three types of costs.

Direct damages caused by the floods will be estimated in the first category of losses. This includes monetary estimates of completely or partially destroyed assets.

Estimates of income losses, decreases in the flow of goods and services and increases in other economic costs comprise the second category of losses.

The costs of rebuilding lost assets and restoring lost services are the final category of the costs to be measured.

Previously, the WB and the ADB carried out a damage assessment of the Malakand operation.
“Numerous damage and needs assessments have been completed by the World Bank in collaboration with other key financiers and donor institutions such as the ADB and that experience will be utilised in this assessment,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank country director for Pakistan, labeling this assessment “a challenge for the WB considering the enormity of the disaster.”

“This is the fourth damage and needs assessment the ADB and the WB are conducting in Pakistan in close collaboration with the Economic Affairs Division, but it is unique given the scale of devastation and the geographic spread of the calamity,’’ said Rune Stroem, the ADB Country Director for Pakistan.

Given no fresh wave of flooding occurs, the damage data collection and compilation will continue without interruption and the assessment is expected to be completed by mid-October, he added.

The ADB and WB will also collaborate with One UN, a collaboration of all UN agencies and other key donors.

The floods have affected over 134,000 square feet of territory, displaced 20 million people, destroyed over 720,000 homes and washed away billions of dollars of infrastructure.

Damage and need assessments are generally conducted in the shortest possible time immediately after a natural disaster to provide the government and international community with a credible assessment of the extent of the damage and an estimate of the cost to reconstruct and rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure and services.

Response to natural calamities consists of rescuing, providing immediate relief, initiating early recovery and commencing reconstruction. Rescue and immediate relief efforts focus on providing temporary shelter, food and primary health care. During early recovery, restoring functions interrupted by the disaster, such as communications and service delivery, is prioritised. The reconstruction phase focuses on the replacement of infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the disaster.

The data in the assessment will be scrutinised using various analytical and statistical tools, including rationality and plausibility checks. Damage analysis across sectors will also be conducted by comparing relative percentage damage in various sectors at the provincial and district levels. Field visits will also be conducted to meet various stakeholders, particularly the affected population, to assess the accuracy of the data.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2010.

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