26 April 2023 / Vienna, Austria
Anatomy of a Manmade Disaster: The Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment on Ukraine
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
28 April 2023

An official assessment released last week estimates that the cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine has grown to US $411 billion (equivalent of €383 billion). The water sector alone has suffered physical damage worth US$2.2 billion.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the unthinkable has turned into stark reality: A war is raging on the border of the European Union. We are watching a manmade disaster unfold in slow motion: Faced with determined and surprisingly successful resistance, the Russians have made the indiscriminate destruction of vital infrastructure a mainstay of their strategy.

We share the pain of Ukraine, not the least because this country has, over the last years, taken an important, active role in the Danube Water Program, taking part in the Utility Benchmarking Program and showing keen interest in expanding cross-border cooperation. Now all these activities are suspended and water professionals who have become our partners and friends have to deal with damage and destruction.

The joint Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA2) released by the Government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, and the United Nations covers the one-year period from the start of hostilities on February 24, 2022, to the first anniversary of the war on February 24, 2023. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of war impacts across twenty different sectors, quantifying the direct physical damage to infrastructure and buildings and describing the impact on people's lives and livelihoods. The RDNA2 also includes the amounts needed for recovery and reconstruction. It estimates Ukraine will need $14 billion for critical and priority reconstruction and recovery investments in 2023 alone.

The assessment finds the total estimated reconstruction and recovery needs over the next decade to be US$411 billion, 2.6 times the country's estimated 2022 GDP. The highest estimated needs are in transport (22 percent), housing (17 percent), energy (11 percent), social protection and livelihoods (10 percent), explosive hazard management (9 percent), and agriculture (7 percent).

Ukraine's water sector has suffered an estimated aggregate physical damage of US$2.2 billion. In terms of infrastructure, most of the damage has been observed in larger physical infrastructure like wastewater treatment plants, water supply and wastewater collection networks, and drinking water treatment plants and facilities. Significant numbers of water and wastewater pumping stations, which are critical for functioning WSS systems, have been damaged as well, but utilities are constantly working to fix those to ensure basic provision of WSS services.

In addition, lost revenues from service provision, reduced water consumption, an abysmal collection rate and increased energy costs and war-related price increases across the board shouldered the sector with losses to the tune of approximately US$7.5 billion.

The study authors note that due to the exceptional difficulty of data collection, these estimates represent a conservative figure and could underestimate actual damage by up to 30 percent.

In short: For the foreseeable future, Ukraine will need all the support it can get – and will get it. The European Union Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi comments: “Each day that goes by, Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on the people of Ukraine and the socio-economic fabric of the country. The Rapid Needs Assessment will help donors channel funds to the priority sectors on the ground. It is important to ensure fast recovery and basic services for the population, namely energy, education and health infrastructure and housing. The EU will continue supporting Ukraine, now a candidate country, with all its tools and instruments at its disposal”.

The full Ukraine Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment: February 2022 - February 2023 is available under the link below.

VoD - Ukraine Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment: February 2022 - February 2023

This second Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA2) jointly developed by the World Bank Group, the Government of Ukraine, the European Commission, and the United Nations, presents an assessment of one year of war impacts, in lin...