An Unseen Reality - Recovery following small disasters in remote areas | Mission East

An Unseen Reality - Recovery following small disasters in remote areas

This report examines the recovery experience of small, remote Nepalese communities in the aftermath of disaster. The aim is both to provide academic insight and to contribute to the formulation of better recovery strategies, policies and plans by government and other “external” agencies. To this end the report identifies the actions taken by disaster affected communities to promote their own recovery and to identify those potential areas of support that could be targeted by external aid agencies that would support recovery measures.

The information presented comes from a study of Mumra and Mehalmudi in Sannighat in the Kalikot District carried out by Mission East Nepal in March- April 2014, in the aftermath of a destructive flash flood that occurred in June 2013. This information is extended drawing on further material garnered in on-going research in the remote hill areas of Baitadi and Kailali districts. This work was carried out by the author of this report in the period from November 2013 to February 2014.

The study involved in-depth interviews with community members directly affected by the flood, semistructured interviews with government officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and a focus group discussion disaster affected households. The information generated was largely qualitative and both an accepted social science research methodology and the most realistic option given the lack of appropriate statistical data available in the areas concerned.

This study demonstrates and concludes that while the recovery process following smallscale disasters in remote communities follows the three-stage recovery process of existing academic models, the characteristics of each stage differs markedly. In particular, the research presented here demonstrates that recovery following small- scale disasters is dominated at every stage by self-help at the community level and that external government and agency intervention, while of major importance, is largely limited to the immediate rescue and recovery phase and does not extend to longerterm complete recovery.

The communities concerned and the impacted populations are all shown to have considerable self-resilience but this is inadequate to ensure full recovery, leading the impacted communities to increased poverty, social disruption and increased vulnerability to future potential hazards.  Please read the full report for more information and the findings