Multisectoral Assessment

“Accurate and timely information about the needs of people affected by emergencies is essential for effective design of humanitarian programmes and equitable allocation of resources. Improved assessment and analysis is expected to support the identification of acute humanitarian needs and create a solid evidence base for humanitarian decision making regarding the level and type of action required to respond to those needs. Since global resources to help deal with catastrophes are limited, it is increasingly imperative for humanitarian actors to target their assistance strategically, taking into account the severity, scale and underlying causes of the disaster”-

By Multi-Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA); United Nations; Nepal Information Platform.

Multisectoral1A well intended humanitarian response to disasters will not be able to assist affected people in the absence of a comprehensive and multi-sectoral understanding of clear damages and needs. These assessments need to be objective, evidence based and sensitive enough so as to provide humanitarian response that is in acceptable quality and cultural standards.  A multi-sectoral assessment should identify what has happened in different sectors such as infrastructure, livelihood, primary health services, public health including water, sanitation, primary education, access to basic nutrition and child protection. A multi-sectoral assessment report should identify what needs to be done to assist the affected people to relief, recover and restore their lives.

These assessments should be periodical and reports must be updated in different phases of humanitarian crisis in order to make sure the response is appropriate and adequate. The first assessment that may be called as rapid needs assessment ( i.e- the indicative overview) should provide an initial understanding of damage and the extent of support that the response agencies needs to gear up to mobilize initial funds. The initial rapid needs assessment report also enable the humanitarian agencies to mobilize its “pre-positioned warehouse stocks” and deploy personnel’s for immediate distributions of food, water and sanitation services to the most affected.

The multi-sectoral assessment thereafter follows with much detailed multi-sectoral assessment approach that helps response agencies to have a clearer understanding on some of these following aspects, such as-

•  Level and locations of damage
•  Extent and impact of disaster
•  Relief and rehabilitation needs
•  Ongoing response initiatives
•  Logistical means for delivery of relief
•  Possibilities of extended disaster events
•  Prevalent socioeconomic challenges
•  Presence of other humanitarian agencies.

According to Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC); Multi Cluster/Sector Initial
Rapid Assessment (MIRA); UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs;
Provisional Version March 2012; Chapter -3; (Reference page -9).
Approach-“Adapt and agree upon the MIRA Framework”:

“The MIRA Framework underpins each step of secondary data collection and primary
data collection and serves as a tool to support data analysis:

The Framework is based on eight themes:

1.Drivers of the crisis and underlying factors
2.Scope of the crisis and humanitarian profile
3.Status of populations living in affected areas
4.National capacities and response
5.International capacities and response
6.Humanitarian access
7.Coverage and gaps
8.Strategic humanitarian priorities

Each theme is further divided in key questions. The answers to these questions emerge throughthe analysis of secondary and primary data. The process of data analysis is supported by the further delineation of the themes in four dimensions: status and impact, vulnerabilities and risk,trends, and information gaps.

The Preliminary Scenario Definition and the MIRA Report use the same eight themes to ensure
that evidence clearly supports the conclusions reached during the final inter-sectoral analysis,
and to facilitate the easy transferral of the assessment’s findings.”

Such detailed assessment helps response agencies to initiate large scale support covering all major multi-sectoral support. However, in the event of wide spread large scale disasters, it is also important to conduct further deeper technical assessment of humanitarian situation with an eye on helping to people to recover and restore their livelihood practices and psychosocial needs. The assessment of needs should continue in different phases of humanitarian response in order to tune humanitarian response as per the needs of the affected people. These assessments reports should also capture local capacities and opportunities for as much localized response as possible.

Key Message: The multi-sectoral damage and needs assessments in humanitarian situations should be needs based, culturally sensitive, quick and comprehensive.

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