What Matters for Households' Recovery Trajectories Following the Gorkha Earthquake

Analyzing the importance of formal lending in long-term disaster recovery

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, killing over 9,000 people, destroying or badly damaging more than 800,000 homes and displacing approximately 2.8 million people.

In an effort to better understand what factors mattered most for households’ recovery and future resilience, Mercy Corps followed the same group of households across 26 earthquake-affected communities 10 weeks, one year and two years after the earthquake. The analysis explores what factors mattered most for short-term coping and long-term recovery in order to improve humanitarian response and design of recovery programs in the aftermath of acute disasters.

Key findings and recommendations include:

  • A single major disaster can be a catalyst for increased fragility;
  • Factors that help households in the immediate aftermath of a shock may not sustain longer-term recovery;
  • Bolstering key resilience capacities over time allows households to cope in the short-term and achieve long-term recovery;
  • Formal lending consistently helps households cope better and recover faster;
  • Relying on government disaster preparedness and response capacity is insufficient in contexts of weak governance.

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