3.1 Sphere initial assessment standard

Assessments provide an understanding of the disaster situation and a clear analysis of threats to life, dignity, health and livelihoods to determine-in consultation with the relevant authorities-whether an external response is required and, if so, the nature of the response.

The Sphere Core Standard 3 (Assessment) states that “The priority needs of the disaster-affected population are identified through a systematic assessment of the context, risks to life with dignity and the capacity of the affected people and relevant authorities to respond.”


  • Information is gathered using standardised procedures and made available for transparent decision-making.
  • The assessment considers all technical sectors (water and sanitation, nutrition, food, shelter, health) and the physical, social, economic and security environment.
  • The assessment includes questions that will inform the design of mechanisms for the Accountability to Affected People (AAP)
  • Through consultation, the assessment takes into account the responses of the local and national authorities, and other actors and agencies.
  • Whenever feasible, data is aggregated by sex and by age.
  • Local capacities and strategies to cope with the disaster, both those of the affected population and the surrounding population are identified.
  • The assessment includes an analysis of the operating environment, including factors affecting the personal safety and security of the affected population, and of humanitarian staff.
  • Estimates of population numbers are cross-checked and validated with as many sources as possible, and the basis for the estimate is made known.
  • Assessment findings are made available to other sectors, national and local authorities, and representatives of the affected population. Recommendations are made on the need for external assistance, and on appropriate responses that should be linked with exit or transition strategies.

Source: Sphere handbook .

for AAP related questions: REACH/IASC menu of AAP questions