Satisfaction with the humanitarian response to the 2010 Pakistan floods: a call for increased accountability to beneficiaries

Kirsch, T., Perrin, P., Siddiqui, M. and Robinson, W.
Publication language
Date published
01 Aug 2012
Emergency Medicine Journal
Floods & landslides, Response and recovery


Objective Ascertain recipients' level of satisfaction with humanitarian response efforts.

Design: A multi-stage, 80×20 cluster sample randomized survey (1800 households) with probability proportional to size of households affected by the 2010 Indus river floods in Pakistan. The floods affected over 18 million households and led to more than 8 billion USD in response dollars.

Results: Less than 20% of respondents reported being satisfied with response, though a small increase in satisfaction levels was observed over the three time periods of interest. Within the first month, receipt of hygiene items, food and household items was most strongly predictive of overall satisfaction. At 6 months, positive receipt of medicines was also highly predictive of satisfaction. The proportion of households reporting unmet needs remained elevated throughout the 6-month period following the floods and varied from 50% to 80%. Needs were best met between 1 and 3 months postflood, when response was at its peak. Unmet needs were the greatest at 6 months, when response was being phased down.

Conclusion:s Access-limiting issues were rarely captured during routine monitoring and evaluation efforts and seem to be a significant predictor in dissatisfaction with relief efforts, at least in the case of Pakistan, another argument in favor of independent, population-based surveys of this kind. There is also need to better identify and serve those not residing in camps. Direct surveys of the affected population can be used operationally to assess ongoing needs, more appropriately redirect humanitarian resources, and ultimately, judge the overall quality of a humanitarian response.