Disaster Management Manual
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5.1.2 Key Factors during Recovery

Following are the important factors during the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure. 1

Table 5.1.2 Key Factors during Recovery
NumKey FactorsKey Considerations


Active participation in coordination efforts enables lead agencies to:

- Establish clear division of labor and responsibility
- Gauge the extent to which needs are being collectively met
- Reduce duplication and address gaps in coverage and quality in a timely manner.

According to the agreed roles and mandates of the rehabilitation and (re)construction initiative, determine all the authorities and institutions that you will need to collaborate with, as well as the roles they will be playing in the implementation of the program.



Maintain effective communications channels with all key stakeholders (i.e., beneficiaries, partners, local authorities, donors, inter-agency level). Determine the most appropriate and effective way to communicate clearly, explain the purpose of an assessment, process and the extent to which assistance will be available.



Draw up an inventory of existing infrastructure – nature and extent of damage caused – and assess the remaining capacity.

Damage assessment

Carry out a preliminary assessment of reconstruction and resource requirements.

Needs assessment

Gender considerations should be kept in mind when analyzing capacities and needs of the disaster affected. Infrastructure planning, design and reconstruction must be coordinated with the plan for sheltering options to ensure the availability of basic services such as water, sanitation, solid waste management, health facilities and education.

Impact assessment

Identify likely impact of response in the short- and long-term. Ensure that the infrastructure is sustainable both from an economic and social (cultural and traditional) perspective.

Hazard assessment

Assess the frequency and dimension of all potential sources of natural hazards (geological, meteorological or hydrological) in the area. Ensure that infrastructure design is resilient to the most likely hazard scenario. Existing academic studies and hazard maps may provide information for the hazard evaluation. However, depending on the prevalent hazards and the site, it may also be necessary to conduct site-specific risk analysis. Local secondary disaster effects (e.g., landslides from excessive rain or ground shaking) should be anticipated and considered.


Organizational capacities and operating modalities

Before determining “who will do what,” it is pertinent to analyze the capacity and mandate of the Host National Society, and Partner National Society. Contingent on the capacities identified, the Host National Society may decide to carry out uni-, bi-and/or multi-lateral projects. The uni-, bi- or multi-lateral projects may also involve working in collaboration with other aid organizations and/or government authorities. Once the operational modality has been decided upon, and terms and conditions negotiated, make sure that an agreement or a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering all details is signed between the concerned parties.


Human resources

All staff must be knowledgeable of the local culture and traditions, local needs and experienced in the techniques (engineering) to be used in implementing the program.


Define roles and responsibilities

Define the roles and responsibilities of the personnel and organizations involved from the onset (i.e., in assessments; the design and siting of appropriate infrastructure; the enforcement of design; and the quality control of construction, operation and maintenance). Set up a system of consultation and collaboration with local engineers, contractors, consultants, government, local authorities and the affected community.


Information management system

Ensure there is a systematic electronic and hard copy filing and archiving system in place.


Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) establishes a framework for collaboration between the key stakeholders by clearly expressing the common goals of the parties who are entering the memorandum of understanding (MoU). There may be an overall memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the entire program as well as more specific separate project memorandum of understanding (MoU). An memorandum of understanding (MoU) should clearly stipulate the following:

- Details of the organizations being signatory to the memorandum of understanding (MoU)
- Objectives of the arrangement and goals
- Agreed actions and areas of support
- Strategies and mechanisms that will be adopted to deal with common issues
- Timeframe: the term of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), i.e., an agreed start and review date
- Agreed roles and responsibilities of each organization
- Liabilities and indemnifications
- The designation of focal points within each organization
- A communications plan and/or dispute resolution statement
- Clause around the availability of budget for specific projects and programs.


Review legislation and good practices

Conform to national/local building codes. In the event that building codes do not exist, conduct research on existing codes of practice for hazard resistance, which might include the following:

- Investigate the history of code development and level of hazard inclusion.
- Analyze the performance of buildings and infrastructure designed to the codes during previous hazard events.
- Compare loading and design criteria to building codes developed for countries with similar hazards, as well as for neighboring countries with similar construction practices.
- Review international good practices, building codes, and design guidelines appropriate to the identified hazards and assess their applicability.

Determine whether the building codes are adequate for use in infrastructure reconstruction. Familiarize with host government legislation to determine whether tenders can be opened for bids to international contractors including joint ventures.


Review of local construction capacity

Identify local construction practices for the relevant type of infrastructure. A rapid assessment may be made in the case of new construction. A more detailed analysis is required in a retrofitting project. Weaknesses in structures and in the vulnerability of infrastructure to the identified natural hazards must be assessed. This may include a study of the rate of degradation of the structure and its materials over time to assess resilience against projected hazards. Determine the strengths and durability of materials in existing or proposed infrastructure. Ensure that the relevant line ministries and/or local authorities can maintain the infrastructure in the long-run. Identify those who will carry out the design and construction – engineers, contractors, consultants and ensure they comply with codes. Assess program management and administration capacity and strengthen it with training or outside expertise. Assess local construction practices, their resistance to the determined hazards, and the level of risk this poses.


Site selection for construction of new infrastructure

When signing a separate project memorandum of understanding (MoU) ensure that the site has been identified prior to signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU). The site for development will typically be defined by the local government based on availability, land-use plans, and economic criteria. Site selection will apply to construction of new infrastructure or replacement of an infrastructure that has been identified as being in a hazard zone, as per hazard assessment. If your assessment reveals that the site is not suitable, do not agree to reconstruct on the site. Share the findings with the government and renegotiate with them.


Disaster risk reduction (DRR) oriented rehabilitation and reconstruction

Create a project that focuses on reducing vulnerabilities and increasing capacities to make the affected community safer and more resilient. This is usually done through structural (physical construction to reduce potential impact) and/or non-structural (policies, public awareness, land-use planning, construction types) measures undertaken to minimize the adverse impact of potential hazards.


Environmentally friendly initiative

Local materials should be used as much as possible and so long as there are no adverse effects on the environment. Ensure that the program includes measures to mitigate any negative environmental impact of the infrastructure development especially in the long-term.



Design a sustainable and socially acceptable strengthening or (re)construction solution that satisfies disaster risk reduction (DRR) objectives. Consider limitations of finance, construction skills and material availability. Identify an interim solution. Ensure that the environmental and social impacts of the proposed solution are acceptable. Adhere to local or national building codes. Apply the “build back safer” principle. In evaluating infrastructure technology options, evaluate the following:

- Consider the financial and operational capacity of the entity responsible for service provision.
- Assess capital investment, operation and maintenance costs over the life of the project.
- Review the availability of parts and supplies in the long-run.


Government levied sales tax and import duties

There may be a need to import material and equipment. Negotiate value added tax (VAT) exemptions, deferments/waivers on purchases and payments to contractors/consultants. If value added tax (VAT) exemptions are not possible it is imperative to make provisions to be able to pay duty charges on imported goods.


Obtaining approval

Obtaining plan approvals can be a time consuming and tedious process. It is essential to obtain the necessary approvals from the authorities and where necessary by the line ministries. The program should support this process and liaise with relevant authorities to grant planning approval prior to commencement of construction.


Procurement and tendering

Follow the Procurement of Works and Services for Construction Projects guidelines for tendering and procurement procedures. Possible modalities of contractor engagement:

- Working in partnership with the government
- Traditional form of tender (client – consultant – contractor)
- Design and construct (turnkey).


Consultants and contractors

Prior to selecting consultants or going to tender, it is advisable to research capacity available in-country following the disaster. Large-scale infrastructure projects require engagement of larger national or international firms, which may then need to import labor to complete the project. Check national legislation on whether it is permitted to bring in international firms or import labor from another county.
Assess the capacity of the potential contractor. This can be done by requesting the contractor to provide:

- A report on recent projects carried out by the company
- References from past clients
- Financial statements to prove company is financially solvent
- Licenses – government registration papers
- Insurances
- Curriculum vitae and profiles of full-time and key contract staff.

Role of consultants
Consultants, preferably local, are required to prepare designs that are acceptable to the beneficiaries. The engagement of consultants will depend upon the method of tendering that is proposed. Depending on the size and nature of the project/ program various consultants may be required during the project, including architects, town planners and engineers. In the absence of qualified personnel for design input other sources may need to be consulted:

- End-user to provide greater input
- If the Host National Society has an engineering department, they may have technical personnel who can contribute
- Technical staff from the cluster may be a source of direction.

The final design has to be signed off by the government.



The quality of post-disaster construction must not compromise the design intent. Establish procedures for multi-disciplinary inspection and check against specifications of works throughout the building process in the following ways:

- Test materials and check adherence to design guidelines.
- Ensure implementation of quality assurance systems.
- Maintain good communications with contractors and consultants throughout the project cycle.
- Ensure monitoring occurs throughout the project cycle.
- Ensure that the client is proactive in managing the contractor and consultant obligations with the client.


Final completion of works

Prepare in advance for contract finalization with contractors:

- Built drawings
- Operation manuals
- Handover of key documents to the end-user.


Maintenance and handover

It is crucial that the end-user, who is eventually going to be in charge of maintaining the infrastructure, is involved in reconstruction decisions and discussions. It is essential to ensure that the infrastructure that is being constructed is durable and can be maintained properly by the relevant authority after it is handed over. Ensure that the operator of the facility is made aware of the defects liability period (DLP).


Monitoring and evaluation

Assess the adequacy of the restored road infrastructure system and the success of the project as a whole. This assessment should include evaluation of:

- Functionality, social acceptability and sustainability
- Project cost with respect to potential benefits of hazard-proof design in future events, skills provided to builders, and new construction guidelines introduced
- Reporting of infrastructure performance under any hazard events that have occurred.

Lessons learned regarding strengthening hazard resilience should be summarized, shared, and drawn upon for future projects.

Reference sources

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