Crisis Response and Recovery

Crisis Response and Recovery

Including the environment in Crises Response and Recovery

Key Resource

The Bahamas: Rapid assessment of acute environmental risks after Hurricane Dorian

This report provides an overview of the response to the environmental impacts of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in The Bahamas on 1 September 2019, leaving a trail of devastation behind.

The full report is accessible here.

This report is divided into three parts, which can also be accessed individually below:

  1. An overview of the response;
  2. The response on Abaco Islands;
  3. The response on Grand Bahama Island.

 

Drone view of Marsh Harbour, Abaco Islands, The Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian (© Samaritan’s Purse)

 

Executive Summary

Key environmental concerns in the aftermath of Dorian included: i) the management of large quantities of disaster waste generated by the hurricane; ii) the confirmed inland spill of crude oil and any potential spills at sea from Equinor’s oil storage facility on Grand Bahama Island; and iii) any potential secondary and cascading impacts resulting from damages to the numerous hazardous operation facilities located on Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands.

To support the government-led response to Hurricane Dorian, a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed to The Bahamas from 8 to 28 September. The team embedded an environmental expert from the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit (JEU).

The main objective of the overall mission was to provide technical advice to national and local authorities to rapidly identify, assess and mitigate any negative environmental impacts following the event, with an emphasis on those that posed immediate life-threatening risks to humans (both local communities and responders); advise on required follow-up actions; promote the early integration of environmental considerations in assessments and overall response efforts; facilitate knowledge sharing and information exchange among national and international counterparts on environmental matters; and deliver recommendations accordingly.

The mission outcomes showed that special considerations on hazardous waste should be incorporated in a comprehensive disaster waste management strategy and any ongoing clean-up efforts should be linked to this strategy.

 

Additional Resources

For additional resources, please refer to the following news articles on the topic:

  1. UN Environment Programme: Weathering the storm after Hurricane Dorian
  2. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Averting a second killer wave: The environmental impacts of hurricanes

 

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Key Resource

Scoping Study: Coordinated Assessment for Environmental and Humanitarian Action

Throughout the humanitarian programme cycle of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, a range of guidelines, manuals, toolkits and mechanisms have been developed to support the decision-making assessment process. However, no single mechanism or tool is comprehensive or accepted as standard operating procedure. Furthermore, the extent to which environmental assessments are integrated into the overall humanitarian emergency planning process can vary significantly. This patchwork of environmental tools can complicate when, where, and how to integrate environmental considerations into humanitarian projects and programmes.

Developed and published by the Joint Initiative, this scoping report provides a situational analysis, outlining the challenges and providing draft recommendations regarding the use of   environmental assessment tools, with focus on the Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disasters (REA).

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Key Resource

The Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disasters (REA) tool

The Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disaster (REA) is a tool to identify, define, and prioritize potential environmental impacts in disaster situations.

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Key Resource

The Sphere Handbook

The Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized tools for the delivery of the quality humanitarian response

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Key Resource

Ten tips how humanitarians can protect the environment

On World Humanitarian Day 2018, UN Environment published an overview of key environmental considerations for humanitarian action.

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Key Resource

The Framework for Assessing, Monitoring and Evaluating (FRAME) Toolkit

The FRAME Toolkit is a Framework for Assessing, Monitoring and Evaluating the Environment in Refugee-Related Operations

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Key Resource

GFDRR Post-Disaster/Conflict (Environmental) Needs Assessment

A Post-Disaster/Conflict (Environmental) Needs Assessment (PDN(E)A or PCN(E)A) helps to integrate environmental needs within early recovery programming to develop a more comprehensive and sustainable recovery strategy.

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Key Resource

Environmental health in emergencies and disasters: a practical guide

The guide is targeted to emergency planners and environmental technical staff working in a disaster context. It provides detailed guidance on environmental health activities in the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery stages of an emergency.

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Key Resource

Environmental Emergencies: Learning from Multilateral Response to Disasters

This publication draws attention to the importance of multilateral cooperation in preparing for and responding to environmental emergencies. It raises awareness of the devastation that environmental emergencies can cause and highlights the strong need to integrate humanitarian and environmental action.

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Additional Resource

Mozambique Shelter Cluster & UNDP – General strategy for risk reduction linked to asbestos cement

This strategy addresses awareness, assessment and management of asbestos cement material present in debris and damaged roofing following Cyclone Idai in Mozambique (2019). Drawing from the case study, the strategy (document) provides a general outline of key steps to raise awareness (presentation) ; design trainings; and plan and implement safe removal, handling and disposal of asbestos in emergency situations (Guidance Note)

 

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Additional Resource

Model Approach to Environmental and Social Standards in UN Programming

Robust social and environmental standards and related accountability mechanisms are increasingly applied as best practice in a broad range of international programming and investments for sustainable development. In practical terms such standards aim to ensure that development and humanitarian actors are held to the principles they proclaim, and that interventions do not result in inadvertent harm to people and the environment.

The Model Approach, developed by the inter-agency Consultative Process on Advancing the Environmental and Social Sustainability in the UN System under the UN Environment Management Group, is intended to serve as a reference and benchmark for UN entities to use on a voluntary basis when they adopt or revise their own environmental and social standards and safeguards. The aim of the Model Approach is to provide a first step in moving towards a common approach, strengthening policy alignment and shared learning. It builds on lessons learned and the wide range of normative and operational expertise within the UN system.

 

To learn more, download the Model or visit this page : https://unemg.org/modelapproach/

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Additional Resource

The Knowledge Hub on Health and Migration

The Knowledge Hub on Health and Migration is a joint effort committed to building expertise on the public health aspects of migration and making  information in this area widely available. The Hub provides tool kits, training materials, reports and schooling to better prepare for the health needs which arise during large-scale migration events.

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Additional Resource

Haiti Environment and Humanitarian Action Country Study

The Environment and Humanitarian Action (EHA) – Haiti country study is one in a series of country-level studies that assess the extent to which environmental concerns have been mainstreamed in humanitarian action. In April 2015, the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, supported by Groupe URD, undertook a mission to Haiti to look at environmental mainstreaming in the humanitarian response to floods, tropical storms, hurricanes and mainly on the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

 

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Additional Resource

Nepal Environment and Humanitarian Action Country Study

The Nepal Environment and Humanitarian Action (EHA) country-level study is one in a series of studies undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit (JEU) in 2015 that assesses the extent to which environmental concerns have been mainstreamed in humanitarian action. It provides guidance to humanitarian actors on how to improve environmental mainstreaming in a rapid onset emergency.

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Additional Resource

Afghanistan Environment and Humanitarian Action country study

The Afghanistan Environment and Humanitarian Action (EHA) country-level study is one in a series of studies undertaken by the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU) in 2015 that assesses the extent to which environmental concerns have been
mainstreamed in humanitarian action. This study provides guidance and advice to humanitarian actors on how to improve environmental mainstreaming in a protracted crisis.

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Additional Resource

UN, Environment and Humanitarian Action in the Age of Global Reform Agendas

This summary is based on previous studies and work conducted by the UN Environment / OCHA Joint Unit and its partners related to integrating environment in humanitarian action. It outlines major humanitarian trends that will shape the future integration of environmental considerations in humanitarian action.

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Additional Resource

IrishAid: Environment and Humanitarian Assistance

This document published by Irish Aid provides a general overview of the links between environment and humanitarian assistance.

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Additional Resource

IASC Guidance on the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC)

This reference module by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) provides an overview of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC), including what needs to be done, when and by whom, to enable managers to allocate staff and tasks, sequence decisions and planning, and identify priorities.

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Additional Resource

Shelter Sector Environmental Guidelines

This document focuses on housing reconstruction after natural hazard events that must be carried out in highly difficult circumstances and there are expectations to be operational very quickly. Its purpose is (1) to convey the full range of environmental and environmental health issues associated with housing construction, and (2) to provide a guided framework for considering these issues in the siting, design and implementation of housing projects, particularly in post-disaster reconstruction and in risk-prone areas.

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Key Activities

1.

Situation Analysis

A situation analysis following a crisis typically looks at key crisis drivers, affected areas, the number and type of affected people, the ways in which people are affected, the most urgent needs and available capacities.

2.

Assessments

Assessing the environmental consequences of an emergency and prioritizing the response actions based on the needs, forms the foundation of a coherent, efficient and sustainable humanitarian response.

3.

Response and Recovery Planning

Environment is included into response plans in order to improve programme quality and accountability to disaster-affected people.

4.

Resource Mobilization

Environmental mainstreaming is dependent on successful resource mobilization, where environmental concerns must be integrated in funding proposals in order to secure funding.

5.

Implementation

Successful integration of environment into the implementation of humanitarian response requires that environment be included into preparedness and planning phases, but also effective coordination with national actors.

6.

Response Monitoring

Response monitoring is about creating evidence for humanitarian actors about what actions should be taken to address shortcomings and fill gaps in in the response, with the aim of improving accountability towards affected populations, local government, donors and the general public.

7.

Coordination

Coordination involves bringing actors together. It is a key mechanism for mainstreaming environment in disaster management.

8.

Information and Data Sharing

Environmental information and data is important for an efficient humanitarian response and should be shared according to established humanitarian information management practices

9.

Evaluation and Learning

Humanitarian response evaluations and lessons learnt should consider the extent to which environment has been addressed

10.

Recovery

Addressing environment in the recovery process helps restore societal functions in a more sustainable manner

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