Training for Health Professionals for Assessing the Economic Impact of Disasters

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altRecent disasters in the Region have once again highlighted the vulnerability of Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the great losses suffered by the economy, in general and the health sector, in particular. For example, in Haiti, the overall impact of the earthquake was US$ 7.8 billion, which represents 121% of its annual GDP. Damage and losses to the health sector totaled US$ 525 million.

PAHO/WHO, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), hosted in September, in Lima, Peru, a training session for professionals with experience in disasters on the Damage and Loss Assessment (DALA) methodology, which evaluates the socioeconomic and environmental impact of disasters. The main objective was to select participants for a health sector evaluation group.

The DALA methodology measures the impact through the addition of the damage and losses in all sectors and was developed by ECLAC; the health sector assessment was done with assistance and coordination from PAHO. Post-disaster assessments are done after the emergency phase is over, to ensure that the evaluation work will not disrupt the response effors, but also to ensure that evaluators have a baseline. After the initial data collection and interviews with government counterparts and the private sector, field visits are conducted to estimate damages. Finally, using national accounts losses, for each sector are assessed. The information obtained provides the basis for the formulation of appeals to the international community and the identification of key projects for reconstruction.

 The World Bank, UN Agencies and the European Commission have developed a process for Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and the Recovery Framework (PDNA/RF), based on DALA and on the Human Recovery Needs Assessment (HRNA), whose objective is to have a correct formulation of appeals and requests for financing and the development of projects and action plans for the short, medium and long term. This new methodology seeks to combine the assessment of the socioeconomic impact with the impact on human development, by combining the DALA and HRNA methodologies.

For more information contact Carlos Roberto Garzón ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or visit www.eclac.org.

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

525 23rd Street, N.W. - Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.
202.974.3399 - Fax 202.775.4578 - disaster@paho.org - www.paho.org/disasters