The MIRA guides the systematic collection, organization and analysis of secondary and primary data. It informs and supports the design of subsequent needs assessments and analysis which are often more detailed and operational in focus.
In a protracted crisis the consolidated analysis of the needs of affected people is presented in a Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) either instead of, or subsequent to, a MIRA.
The MIRA is also best applied to inform strategic-level decisions under tight deadlines.
The Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) is a joint needs assessment tool that can be used in sudden onset emergencies, including IASC System-Wide level 3 Emergency Responses (L3 Responses). It is a precursor to cluster/sectoral needs assessments and provides a process for collecting and analyzing information on affected people and their needs to inform strategic response planning.
The data used to inform humanitarian response planning typically comes from a joint, multi cluster/sector needs assessment. This may come in the form of a MIRA, a Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment or a joint needs assessment. Note: no organization is considered the owner of this data; it should be available to all stakeholders.
In the case of protracted crisis a Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) is produced. A HNO is a consolidation and analysis of existing secondary data, inclusive of the NGO needs assessments, joint and cluster needs assessments.
The humanitarian needs overview describes the overall humanitarian dimensions of a crisis situation including the key humanitarian issues which are considered the most pressing by common agreement. It is based on existing information (secondary data) derived from multi-cluster and sectorial assessments, monitoring data, survey results and contextual judgment by humanitarian actors and of local sources such as government, community bodies and representative from affected communities. The HNO is informed by shared and collated data and the development of a joint needs analysis.
Multi-sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) is used in rapid onset natural disasters to collect primary and secondary community level data to support initial decision making at the beginning of a crisis.
MIRAs occur when a disaster first strikes. The Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) on the other hand is a consolidation and synthesis of recent data on a crisis that occurs either a) after a MIRA is completed or b) on an annual basis as a precursor to the development of a strategic response plan (SRP).