Complementary Roles of Civil Society in Disaster Relief Operations

Authors: Dikshya Devkota*, Gorkha Foundation Nepal
Topics: Gender, Asia, Asia
Keywords: Earthquake, disaster relief, gender, Nepal, civil society
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8212, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper analyses disaster response during the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal and its immediate aftermath. There are multiple ways in which disasters are addressed globally. It focuses particularly on civil society engagement in supplying most essentials such as solar lights, tarpaulins, cooking utensils, and fuel in remote villages in Gorkha District. The present paper is an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context into the management strategies in the circumstances of disaster and their impacts on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI). The paper is focused on post-earthquake relief and reconstruction efforts by civil society, such as NGOs in general and the author's involvement with the Gorkha Foundation at the time. GESI is articulated in the impact of the earthquake on females and various trajectories in the relief operation. Data were collected on the "lived experience" by the author herself during the operation, and from newspaper reports, the use of district level civil society networks of school teachers and volunteers. The author's experiences included activities and efforts based on transparency and accountability to avoid rent-seeking behavior such as price gouging. While the role of the security apparatus of the Government of Nepal was effective in immediate intervention, local civil societies were complementary by involving themselves in addressing tragedies occurring at the deeper level by understanding inherent specific needs of women in cultural and traditional roles. Heuristically, such narratives offer effective strategies for future relief operations.

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