Multi-sector Initial Rapid Assessment

Introduction and Background

The delayed monsoon rain spell that began in Pakistan on 7 September, 2012 caused massive flooding and inundation of land, including some areas that have been subject to flooding for three years in a row. These 2 floods led to more than 400 deaths, widespread damage which included the loss of homes and livelihoods, the destruction of standing crops, and the damage to infrastructure across southern Punjab, northern Sindh, and northeastern Balochistan.

The MIRA (Multi-sector Initial Rapid Assessment) has been developed in collaboration between the Government of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and the humanitarian community. It was developed to enable the use of a common methodology and assessment tool for coherent data collection on needs within an emergency. The development, methodology and process associated with the MIRA tool was undertaken during a 6-month consultation endorsed by the NDMA and PDMAs. Preparations were underway with a pilot version of the MIRA when the floods occurred. The GoP decided that the MIRA could be tested in five of the most severely affected districts: Rajanpur (Punjab), Kashmore and Jacobabad (Sindh) and Jafferabad and Naseerabad (Balochistan). The Assessment Working Group (AWG), co-chaired by NDMA and UNOCHA, coordinated the process.

The Assessment Monitoring Framework (AMF) and MIRA Process

The Assessment and Monitoring Framework (AMF) was adopted as a common, consistent framework within Pakistan in-line with global guidelines. It enables measurement of trends over time and between locations, resulting in better analysis and more informed operations. This joint coordinated approach includes:

  • Defined cluster-level indicators to be monitored through the emergency and early recovery phases;
  • Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines for ensuring comparability and consistency in needs data collection; and
  • A monitoring component, including alignment with reporting mechanisms, to track changes in needs.

The MIRA tool is the first step of the Assessment and Monitoring Framework. It is designed to identify strategic humanitarian priorities after the onset of natural disasters or complex emergencies. Within 72 hours, it provides a situation overview based on secondary data and other sources such as remote sensing. Thereafter, within 7 days, it incorporates findings from field assessments at the community level, while help to identify needs and priorities of the affected and vulnerable population.

MIRA Framework

The MIRA is comprehensive and allows identification of humanitarian priorities, including:

  • The scale, extent and nature of the disaster;
  • The determination of priority areas and assist in the planning and deployment of resources; and
  • Identification of gaps in response and rescue.

The MIRA also connects the specific emergency to preparedness and response plan scenarios, secondary data and any available Government assessments that have already been carried out. The field assessment should identify needs to at least Admin 2 level (district) with statistical significance.

What does the MIRA involve?

  1. Situation Overview based on Secondary Data Analysis
    • Secondary data plays a crucial role in the early stages of emergencies when primary data is not available due to human resources, time and access constraints. Secondary data is is invaluable for determining the trends of past disasters. A sector specific situation overview based on secondary data analysis was therefore requested from each cluster immediately after the onset of the monsoon. Quantitative and qualitative secondary information of the area, group and sectors of interest were also collected and analyzed.
  2. Primary data collection at the community level through key informant interviews
    • The primary data component of the MIRA, also known as the Community Level Assessment (CLA), was collected directly by the Joint Assessment Roster (JAR). The JAR is a pool of trained assessment enumerators who conduct interviews with key informants supported by direct observation of the affected populations. The enumerators used hand held smart phone PDA devices to make live entries into a central database at OCHA, supported by the Assessment Working Group and Assessment Technical Team at the UN together with a NDMA Technical Advisor.
  3. Information synthesis
    • Data synthesis was completed by an Assessment Analysis team comprised of information management officers from each cluster. Relevant pre-crisis information, secondary data analysis, and primary data were synthesized to provide an overall analysis of the situation to allow the Government of Pakistan and humanitarian community to assess the scale of the emergency.


  • The objective of the MIRA is to help decision makers collectively appreciate and communicate the nature and dynamics of the crisis and to further define strategic humanitarian priorities on the basis of the identified needs and gaps.
  • To support the holistic, consistent and reliable collection and analysis of data on humanitarian needs, particularly relating to life-saving activities, as a means to minimize the suffering of the beneficiaries. In addition, to provide fundamental initial information on the needs of the affected population and set priorities for international support. It ensures, furthermore, that information and data is structured to enable easy linkages to decision-making and funding mechanisms.
  • To support the government on initial decision-making with regards to:
    • Whether assistance is needed or not
    • Whether local capacity is adequate or external resources are required.
  • To better target immediate humanitarian interventions. Specifically, to identify and estimate the following:
    • The geographical extent of the affected area
    • Number of people affected.

On Access:

  • What are the logistic considerations in terms of effects of the emergency and options for response?
  • What are the security considerations?

On Needs:

  • How and to what extent does the crisis affect populations (outcomes)?
  • How and to what extent does the crisis affect livelihoods?
  • How does the crisis affect access to basic services and goods?
  • What are the national/sub-national private sector, nongovernmental and government capacities and how have they been affected?
  • Whether there are basic protection concerns for the population and, in particular, vulnerable groups

Coverage and Gaps

  • What proportion of the population in need is reached by humanitarian interventions?
  • These will be estimates at this early stage. To what extent are the needs addressed?

Strategic Humanitarian Objectives

  • What are the priority sectors for intervention?
  • Other key issues to be considered (protection, environment, gender, etc.)?


Download MIRA Assessment Reports
MIRA 2014 Final Report.pdf
MIRA 2012 Final Report.pdf