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ECLAC Launches Third Edition of Disaster Assessment Handbook

ECLAC24 April 2014: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) launched the third edition of its 'Handbook on Disaster Assessment,' updating the methodology developed by ECLAC and now used worldwide to assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of disasters, including natural ones. 

The handbook was launched in Kingston, Jamaica, on 24 April 2014, against the backdrop of the opening of the session of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) that guides the work of ECLAC's subregional headquarters for the Caribbean.

The new edition of the handbook reflects and updates the work that ECLAC has done since 1972 to establish a methodology for estimating the economic consequences of a disaster and for determining the financing needed to rebuild affected areas. Since assisting the Government of Nicaragua and aid agencies assess the impacts of the earthquake that struck the country in 1972, ECLAC has taken part in over 90 estimations of the social, environmental and economic impacts of disasters, most of climatic or geophysical origins, in 28 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Based on the lessons learned from disasters in the 1970s and 1980s, ECLAC produced the first edition of the Handbook in 1991. The ECLAC methodology was adopted by the World Bank in countries outside the LAC region and has been used in 40 countries on other continents, mainly Africa and Asia. A second edition of the Handbook was issued in 2003. The third edition strengthens impact estimation procedures and methods for distinguishing between losses and additional costs and systematizing the linkages that exist between different economic sectors.

The third edition was produced with the collaboration of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and was partially funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). [ECLAC Press Release] [Publication: Handbook for Disaster Assessment]