Debris quantification: Assessing for Action

The balance of speed and accuracy, information in a disaster context


In a post disaster situation, where relief and recovery are obvious priorities, information is paramount. It is impossible to act without information, and this information can only be gathered through assessments. Getting these assessments right is therefore key, balancing between speed and accuracy, getting into that “sweet spot”: gather enough information to act, and bring that information to decision-makers before they act.

Assessments therefore are not an end in and of themselves, they are a support to guide action, to enable decision making, and to become an evidence base for decisions.

The question that follows therefore in the creation of the best assessments, is to understand what decisions we are trying to guide. In the ‘post-disaster fog’, the most common thread is the decision of “where resources are best spent?”: where will it have the greatest positive impact whilst balancing against the least negative impact.