Rapid Environmental Assessment Tool (REA)

The Rapid Environmental Assessment Tool (REA) is a methodology for rapidly assessing and analyzing the environmental context of a particular crisis or disaster.

When applied, it enables strategic and efficient response planning to mitigate identified priority environmental risks. The REA process has been successfully applied in numerous disasters for more than 20 years and was recently updated through the Joint Initiative to reflect the latest updates to the humanitarian planning process and to mainstream more recent concepts including climate risk, resilience and protection. The 2018 REA includes new sections on disaster risk reduction, accountability to affected people and an updated section on gender, diversity and inclusion, and is presented in a new design.

The REA recognizes that identifying environmental issues into the early stages of a disaster response makes relief activities more effective, accountable, and lays a foundation for a speedy and sustainable recovery. The REA process is divided into three steps: 1) collecting baseline information for environmental impact assessment, 2) analyzing information to identify priority issues and 3) reviewing relief activities in order to mitigate potential negative environmental impacts.


The REA tool is designed for use during the critical disaster response period until conditions have stabilized. Data and insights collected during the REA can be integrated into a longer-term environmental impact assessment, and used to inform humanitarian programming.

The REA can be done by persons with no specific background in environmental issues and relatively little background in disaster management. To find out more about the REA, download the tool on EHA Connect and see the example of an REA in Nepal:

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