DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Post-disaster needs assessments

In the aftermath of disasters, affected countries need to invest significant resources to address recovery needs. These should be guided by a comprehensive assessment that estimates damages and losses, and identifies the needs of the affected population. This Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) is the first step towards developing a holistic recovery programme that promotes equity and inclusion.

The PDNA tool was developed by the UN Development Group, the World Bank and the European Union as one of the key commitments of their 2008 agreement to develop and use common assessment and recovery planning approaches in post-crisis settings. The main goal is to assess the full extent of a disaster’s impact, define the needs for recovery, and, in so doing, serve as the basis for designing a recovery strategy and guide donors’ funding. A PDNA looks ahead to restoring damaged infrastructure, houses, livelihoods, services, governance and social systems, and includes an emphasis on reducing future disaster risks and building resilience.


The PDNA is an exercise led by the government and supported by UN agencies, the World Bank, and the European Union. UNDP coordinates on behalf of the UN system and has supported more than 15 PDNAs in the last three years. These assessments – carried out in the aftermath of earthquakes, cyclones, floods and droughts – have formed the basis for governments and other stakeholders to develop recovery plans and allocate required resources.

In an effort to make this critical tool widely applicable, UNDP organizes training programmes at global, regional and national levels. UNDP also maintains a roster of PDNA experts who are deployed to support assessments in the aftermath of a disaster, and guidelines on the PDNA are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.  

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