APPROACHES AND INSTRUMENTS
Remote sectoral damage assessments
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
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.