NBS Guidance

Guidelines for Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disasters

About This Guide

Hauer, Moritz (for the Coordination of Assessments for Environment in Humanitarian Action Initiative in consultation with Charles Kelly). (2018). Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre.

The Guidelines for Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in Disaster (REA) is a tool to identify, define, and prioritize potential environmental impacts in disaster situations. A simple, consensus-based qualitative assessment process, involving narratives and rating tables, is used to identify and rank environmental issues and follow-up actions during a disaster. The REA is built around conducting simple analysis of information in the following areas:

  • The general context of the disaster/conlict.
  • Disaster/conlict related factors which may have an immediate impact on the environment.
  • Possible immediate environmental impacts of disaster/conlict agents.
  • Unmet basic needs of disaster/conlict survivors that could lead to adverse impact on the environment.
  • Potential negative environmental consequences of relief operations.

The REA is designed for natural, technological or political disasters or crises, and as a best practice tool for effective disaster assessment and management. The REA does not replace an environmental impact assessment (EIA), but fills a gap until an EIA is appropriate. The REA can be used from shortly before a disaster up to 120 days after a disaster begins, or for any major stage-change in an extended crisis. Since the design of the REA in 2003, it has been used in a range of ways, from a compressed and rapid version in the first days of a disaster to a more thorough process involving many stakeholders that has overlapped with the recovery stage of a large-scale disaster. The tool is flexible and adaptable to different scenarios.