Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal

Material Information

Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal Independent impacts and recovery monitoring phase 1, June 2015 (synthesis report executive summary)
The Asia Foundation ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
San Francisco, CA
The Asia Foundation
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
© 2015, The Asia Foundation


Subjects / Keywords:
एशिया -- नेपाल
Asie -- Népal
Educational impacts ( SWAY )
Education -- Impact ( LCSH )
शैक्षिक प्रभाव ( SWAY )
Displacement ( SWAY )
Refugees ( LCSH )
विस्थापन ( SWAY )
Economic impacts ( SWAY )
Economic impact analysis ( LCSH )
आर्थिक प्रभाव ( SWAY )
Politics ( SWAY )
Politics and government ( LCSH )
राजनीति ( SWAY )
Political leaders ( SWAY )
Political leadership ( LCSH )
Politicians ( LCSH )
राजनैतिक नेताहरु ( SWAY )
Vulnerability ( SWAY )
Vulnerability (Personality trait) ( LCSH )
जोखिमयुक्त अवस्था ( SWAY )
NGO Report ( SWAY )
Temporal Coverage:
20150436 - 20150601
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Nepal
28 x 84


General Note:
Funded by GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund) through AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), Grant number AH/P003648/1, as "After the Earth's Violent Sway: the tangible and intangible legacies of a natural disaster", Dr. Michael Hutt, Principal Investigator.

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal
Executive Summary
On 25 April 2015, a 7.8-magnitude
earthquake struck Nepal. Thousands
were killed, tens of thousands were
injured, and hundreds of thousands of homes
were damaged or destroyed. A second major
earthquake struck less than three weeks later.
Aid providers quickly responded. But devel-
oping effective plans for long-term sustain-
able recovery requires learning from relief
efforts to date and understanding the needs
and challenges that he ahead. The Independ-
ent Impacts and Recovery Monitoring Nepal
(IRM) project contributes to this by assess-
ing longitudinally five issues - aid delivery
and effectiveness; politics and leadership;
social relations and conflict; protection and
vulnerability; and economy and livelihoods.
This report synthesizes findings from a
quantitative survey and qualitative research
conducted mid-late June 2015.
The impacts of the earthquake
Housing destruction was widespread in
highly impacted districts. Elsewhere there
were pockets of severe impact. In our high
impact districts, 86% of survey respondents
reported that their house was destroyed or
still uninhabitable two months on from the
first quake. In many medium and lower
impact districts, levels of destruction were
higher than aggregated district level data
reveals. The impacts were greater in rural
and remote areas.
The scale of destruction was partly a result
of the poor quality of housing in high impact
districts. Most houses in high impact areas
were made from mud mortar and collapsed,
while the relatively few concrete and pillar
houses were rarely substantially impacted.
The poor and farmers were most likely to
have lost their homes. In high impact areas,
most people are living in self-constructed
temporary shelters. Schools were the
most affected public infrastructure. The
earthquakes had the largest impacts on the
incomes of business people. The impact on
farming was relatively low except where
there had been, or were risks of, landslides.
The impact on laborers was mixed: wages
went up for some but others were laid off.
Tourism was badly hit.
There has been little sales of assets; these
were restricted to the sale of livestock. Bor-
rowing has increased, in particular amongst
those highly impacted. People are most
frequently turning to relatives or money-

Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal
lenders for cash with few taking bank loans, labor migration in the two months following
Remittances have continued. There was little the earthquakes.
The aid effort
Aid distribution was initially chaotic leading
to tensions. After the formalization of
government mechanisms, relief coordination
vastly improved, with District Disaster
Relief Committees (DDRCs) and VDC relief
distribution committees (RDCs) playing an
important role. In general, government
coordination mechanisms at the district level
and below performed well. However, there
were some limitations to these related to a
lack of transparency and accountability.
The government was seen by victims as
being the largest provider of aid, potentially
because of the ‘one door ’ policy, with all aid
materials to be channeled through the gov-
ernment. Aid in the first two months largely
focused on emergency relief. Cash went out
but reached fewer people than expected and
at lower levels than government policies
state. There were vast differences across
districts in who received cash. Delayed
and partial distribution of government cash
grants related to difficulties in the process
of identifying beneficiaries.
There is evidence of substantial mistargeting
of aid: both inclusion and exclusion errors.
Many in highly impacted wards in medium
impact districts missed out. The government
classification of damage at the district level
seemed to greatly influence the number
of organizations that provided aid and the
attention that a district received. This meant
that highly impacted people in less impacted
wards received little aid compared to the
less affected in high impact districts. Aid
reached remote areas with those far from
the district headquarters at least as likely
to have received assistance as those living
closer. It took time, however, for aid to reach
remote areas.
Contentment with the government’s disaster
response was mixed. There was higher satis-
faction with the conduct of VDCs in allocat-
ing aid. People in affected areas were highly
satisfied with the performance of Nepal’s
security forces. Foreign agencies andNGOs
received mixed responses. Dissatisfaction
over beneficiary selection for government
compensation was high. Two months from
the earthquake, people still had many im-
mediate needs, prioritizing they needed
corrugated iron sheets and cash. Over time,
cash will become even more important.
Politics and leadership
There were no significant changes in the role
of political parties and their leaders since the
earthquakes. There was little politicization
of relief at the local level. Political parties
were most commonly accused of having
interfered in the outcome of damage and
needs assessments, especially in medium
and low impact districts where assessments
were more contentious. New leadership
figures did not emerge after the earthquake.
Dissatisfaction with the role political parties
played in responding to the earthquake
was high. Constituent Assembly members

Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal
rarely visited earthquake-affected areas. The
impacts on political preferences is unclear.
The majority of people remained undecided
on who they will vote for in future elections.
This may be a result of disillusionment with
parties and politics. The performance of
parties in responding to the earthquakes may
affect future voting choices.
Social relations and conflict
Crime and violence were not major issues
in the two months following the earthquake.
Most people felt safe and few reported
violence as having occurred. Social cohesion
and intra-community solidarity at the local
level, especially in rural areas, remained
strong or even increased after the earthquake.
Resentment over damage assessments and
beneficiary lists, and grievances related to
resettlement, could lead to conflicts in the
Lower caste and indigenous groups were
not disproportionately affected by the
earthquakes. They did not appear to be
discriminated against in accessing most
types of aid but they were much less likely
to have received cash. They were also less
likely to satisfied with aid providers and less
likely to think VDCs were distributing aid
fairly. Structural inequalities and prevalent
forms of exclusion and discrimination are
likely to negatively affect the recovery of
lower castes in the longer run. They face
greater difficulties accessing credit. Where
they borrow, it is much more likely to be
from moneylenders who charge higher
interest rates.
Women did not appear to have been dispro-
portionately affected by the earthquake and
were accessing aid. There were no substan-
tial differences in the perceived safety of
men and women and there have been very
few incidents of abuses targeting women.
Nevertheless, some, in particular single and
widowed women, faced risks and uncertain-
ties that were not present to the same extent
for men. Children and elderly were under
great distress in many areas.
The displaced faced greater uncertainty and
were more vulnerable to diseases, threats
and exploitation. Many did not know wheth-
er they would be able to return to their land
and could not plan ahead. Inadequate bene-
ficiary lists may mean that households miss
out on assistance.

Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal
There are a number of implications for
those seeking to support recovery in earth-
quake-affected areas, structured around the
I. Improving aid distribution
• Utilize and improve VDC mechanisms for aid coordination
• Ensure assistance reaches high impact wards in medium impact districts
• Be aware of the dangers of individual targeting based on current assessments
• Develop mechanisms that allow for the sharing of cash and support across households
• Communicate government policies and plans more clearly
II. Key areas for future aid
• Focus on building back better
• Provide cash and access to credit
• Develop geological landslide assessments and resettlement plans
• Develop programs for the recovery of small businesses
• Have an extra focus on the vulnerable
III. Ongoing monitoring
• Continue systematic monitoring of evolving needs and patterns of recovery