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Center for Business and Economic Research: Preliminary Damage Estimates for Pakistani Flood Events, 2010

Authors: Michael J. Hicks, and Mark L. Burton
August, 2010



Human sustenance and commerce depend on the availability of basic goods and structures. In some settings these are elaborate, reflecting relative opulence; in other cases, shelter, necessary commercial structures, and basic commodities are of a more fundamental nature. Still, all societies in every possible regional setting require essentially the same things. Consequently, understanding the effects of a specific disaster (natural or man-made) is largely a matter of event scale, relative wealth, and regional anomaly. This commonality makes it possible to quickly anticipate the economic impacts of a still-unfolding event based on historical data from other locations. The analysis that follows is based on this basic premise.

The recent flooding of Pakistan's Indus River and its tributaries has resulted in injury and the loss of life. It has destroyed residential structures and their contents, commercial structures and equipment, and a variety of public infrastructures, including schools, hospitals, roadways, railways, and utilities. As the current document is drafted, the flood event continues to unfold. It will be weeks before effective damage inventories can be commenced and months before they are complete. What the current analysis seeks to do is anticipate the aggregate monetary value of these inventories – at least to an order of magnitude – so that policy-makers and policy-operatives will immediately be able to prepare the way for restoration.

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