The conflict in Yemen has caused loss of life and displacement. Roads and bridges have been destroyed, power lines damaged, and oil and gas production disrupted. The World Bank’s latest Dynamic Needs Assessment (DNA) for Yemen was conducted in 2018 and its findings updated in 2020. Philipp Petermann, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, who led the assessment, explains its results and methodology:
Q: Why does the DNA for Yemen matter?
A: The key objective is to provide an update on the impact of the conflict on Yemen. A DNA estimates the cost of rebuilding assets and restoring services across different sectors and is useful for planning and prioritizing investment. Ultimately, this series gives us important information for planning Yemen’s recovery.
Q: What does it cover?
A: Twelve sectors—education, food security, governance, health, housing, ICT, power, social protection, social resilience, solid waste management, transport, water and sanitation (WASH). We look at 16 cities—Ad-Dhale, Aden, Al Hazm, Amran, Bayhan, Dhamar, Hodeidah, Khoka, Lahj, Lodar, Ma’rib City, Mocha, Rada’a, Sa’da, Sana’a, and Taiz—and where information is available, their governorates. These 16 cities represent close to 60% of Yemen’s pre-crisis urban population. We evaluate sectors like food security at governorate level and others, like social protection and jobs, at national level. Costs are calculated against a March 2015 baseline and compared to the data and information collected early this year.
Q: What are the update’s key findings?
A: Sector-specific damage is worst in the housing sector, 40% of which has been either partially damaged (39%) or completely destroyed (1%). The education, health, transport, and WASH sectors have also been severely affected, with damage ranging from 29% (transport) to 39% (health). The city with the most damage is Sa’da, with 67% of its facilities affected. Sa’da’s housing and health sectors have been particularly badly affected.
The impact is not just physical. For example, even though the power sector has experienced relatively little physical damage (10%), its service delivery capacity is the most affected, with over 85% of its assessed facilities not functioning at all, largely for lack of fuel. In terms of disruption to service delivery, the city the most seriously hit is Sa’da, where just 31% of the facilities we looked at have been functioning. Sa’da is closely followed by Taiz, which has a functionality rate of only 39%.
As of January 2020, damage to the 16 cities is estimated at a low of US$6.8 billion and a high of US$ 8.3 billion. Damage to housing is between US$5.1 and US$6.2 billion, around 74% of the total. Housing is followed by health (US$605 to US$740 million) and power (US$422 to US$516 million). Estimated damage in the WASH, transport, and education sectors is also in the hundreds of millions of US dollars. Estimates are lower for ICT and solid waste management, reflecting the limited number of assets assessed and—given the largely remote nature of the assessment—the lack of comprehensive data.
Q: How much will recovery and reconstruction cost?
A: Overall, the recovery and reconstruction needs of the assessed sectors and geographic areas covered in the DNA are estimated at US$20 billion to US$25 billion over five years. The assessment does not cover all cities and regions in Yemen, and therefore these numbers are not indicative for the entire country.
Q:Aside from physical damage and disruption of service delivery, what other effects is the crisis having?
A: The affordability of food is a rapidly emerging threat to household welfare, as preexisting global food price increases and rial depreciation are now interacting with COVID-19 related trade restrictions by food exporters. Yemen’s import dependence is exacerbated by the impact of desert locusts on the cropping season. A cessation of the ongoing violence and eventual political reconciliation, including the reintegration of vital state institutions, would improve the operational environment for the private sector, facilitating the reconstruction of the economy and rebuilding of the country’s social fabric.
Although the conflict has strained relationships and entrenched societal divisions, there have also been important signs of resilience: as the assessment has demonstrated, there are numerous examples of people coming together at the local level to rehabilitate services and promote local peacebuilding.
Q: How is data collected?
A: Given the nature of the conflict, and the Bank’s lack of access, most data is collected remotely and -whenever possible – validated through spot checks from the ground. Sources include 50 cm–resolution satellite imagery, social media analytics, data mining, and publicly available information. The government supplied extra information for Taiz and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)for Sana’a and Hodeida. Ground information from these three cities was used to test the reliability of the remote assessment. We also used data from existing field surveys and local agencies, like water and sanitation corporations. While it is no substitute for detailed, ground-based evaluations, the DNA can provide an indication of the impact the conflict has had.
Q: How are damage and needs calculated?
A: Damage is based on the number of physical units—facilities, square meters, kilometers of road—and their physical status (partially damaged or completely destroyed) and the estimated pre-crisis unit cost. Completely destroyed assets are costed at 100% of unit cost; partially damaged at 40%. Needs estimates are based on converting the damage to current prices, and accounting for the resources necessary to restore service delivery. The needs estimates are spread over the short- (1 year) and medium-term (2–5 years). Low and high estimates are calculated with a 10% margin.
Q: Are you planning a DNA that covers all of Yemen?
A: The Yemen DNA relies on a replicable methodology that allows regular updates. In the spirit of having a “dynamic” series like this one, the Bank aims to update its findings on a regular basis and, if possible, expand their scope. But, as the DNA has been updated this year, potential plans for a fourth phase will need to be explored next year.