We are excited to release Mercy Corps’ newest research, in partnership with Causal Design, bringing more evidence on how households and communities can be resilient in the face of crisis.
When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, over 9,000 people were killed and 800,000 homes destroyed or badly damaged. Yet some households managed to cope better, and begin recovering more quickly. Mercy Corps set out to understand why, and to identify the sources of their apparent resilience.
This study analyzes data from nearly 1,200 households in severely affected areas, ten weeks after the earthquake. The results provide insights into what types of interventions hold the greatest potential to support the resilience of disaster-prone communities. Since the Gorkhaearthquake, Nepal has experienced floods and landslides from the monsoon rains, and is struggling with a massive fuel crisis. These circumstances underscore the importance of identifying and bolstering the capacities that can help make communities more resilient to multiple, recurrent crises.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
- Traditional disaster risk reduction (DRR) is often not enough. Greater emphasis is needed on strengthening household DRR capacity and government responsiveness in DRR.
- Who you are, and who you can count on, matter. Caste, gender, and social relationships can determine household welfare after a crisis. Humanitarian actors should ensure their responses do not reinforce structural inequalities.
- Financial services are critical to resilience, but some help more than others. Informal savings and formal credit appear to be vital in post-crisis contexts. More investment is required to ensure financial institutions can continue to operate when their services are needed most.
- Enabling people to get back to work quickly post disaster is essential. Humanitarian actors should use rapid cash transfer approaches that can meet immediate needs, while restoring livelihoods and market functions.