© Yusuke Suzuki/Picture alliance/MAXPPP

Sectoral Damage

Sectoral Damage

In order to verify the findings of an overall damage assessment and to take stock of the physical damage, more detailed sectoral or thematic damage assessments need to be performed for the housing and building stock and technical infrastructure.

Infrastructure assessments focus on underground networks, such as water supply and sewage networks, electricity, gas, and telecommunications, and on key installations, including water treatment plants, pumping stations, and power stations, which are often located outside historic city centres.

As a general rule, these detailed assessments should encompass the whole city, not only its historic centre.

Why are sectoral damage assessments needed and how can they be used?

Detailed sectoral assessments provide more reliable information on actual reconstruction and repair needs, and allow the technical and financial requirements to be quantified for individual sectors and assets. They can be used to identify:

  • the number of people who have lost their homes or businesses, the size of the displaced residential and commercial population, and the need to provide emergency shelter or temporary housing and to safeguard housing, property and land rights;
  • the extent of damage to the building and housing stock in distinct categories (partial, severe, destroyed), and the corresponding need for repair and reconstruction;
  • urgent and longer-term priorities for repairing and recovering basic infrastructure;
  • the damage to heritage buildings and sites in more detail;
  • the cost of reconstruction and recovery;
  • the need for financial compensation or assistance for residents and businesses.

Users and target audience

The main users of these assessments are likely to be international and national organisations and individual experts, who need the information typically in order to plan and implement restoration projects.

Their specific need for detailed assessments and information will depend largely on the sector or issue concerned, and on their particular role and functions in the planning and reconstruction process.


Remote sectoral damage assessments

© Yusuke Suzuki/Picture alliance/MAXPPP

Assessments can be performed remotely by consulting existing sources of information, such as satellite imagery, and secondary data sources, including social media analytics, news reports, and other public information.

Even such a broad-brush approach can provide information on, and categorise, the sectoral damage to assets and facilities as per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) guidelines. It can also assess the operational status of key facilities and utilities, and facilitate a rough estimate of damage recovery costs.

Detailed ground-based assessments

© Andrea DiCenzo/Picture alliance/dpa

To conduct such assessments rapidly and efficiently for each relevant sector, teams of experienced and qualified experts are needed. If the necessary expertise is not readily available, basic training has to be provided for locally recruited survey teams in order to ensure a consistent approach and to impart knowledge on how to act in the field and interact with residents and other local actors. Teams will also need instruction on minimising danger while working among rubble and damaged buildings.

Survey teams have to be deployed on the ground in a systematic manner. All damaged buildings and assets have to be visited in order to produce a complete and consistent record. For quality control purposes, the teams should be supervised by experienced senior experts.

Documentation quality, including photographic and video evidence, can be enhanced through the use of modern technologies, including tablets with standardised database applications and smartphones.

UN-HABITAT Mapping and Data Portal Mosul

© UN Habitat


The UN-HABITAT Mapping and Data Portal Mosul provides a wealth of information on different sectoral aspects relevant for urban reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Monitoring the urban changes during and after the campaign to liberate Mosul, it aims to assist humanitarian and development, and government actors in their reconstruction efforts in Mosul.

In addition to overall damage assessments it covers a wide range of thematic assessments. These include main sectoral themes like water, electricity, traffic infrastructure, health and environment, but also information on the conflict generated debris in Mosul.

Further Reference and Resources

Date: 24. August 2018 | Last modified: 24. May 2019

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