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Nepal Quakes destroyed 5.4 million livelihoods in 14 districts

sindhupalchowkKATHMANDU: The per capita disaster impact of the April 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks was highest in the mountains and lowest in inner Tarai among the 14 most affected districts in the country.

The poor socio-economic conditions of the mountain people who already live under conditions of poverty, inequality and vulnerability of various natural disasters was further amplified after the earthquake as their three key main sources of livelihood – agriculture, animal husbandry and tourism were particularly badly affected, according to findings of a working paper on post-earthquake disaster.

The Strategic Framework for Resilient Livelihoods in Earthquake-Affected Areas of Nepal prepared by the National Planning Commission (NPC) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) identified that less developed and poor communities, many of which are in mountain areas, endured a larger portion of disaster impacts.

Of the total 5.4 million livelihoods affected by the earthquake in 14 major districts, poor women and disadvantaged groups suffered more in terms of death, injury, displacement and impacts on other livelihood assets.

As per the findings, the average value of per capita disaster effect was highest in the mountains at Rs 219,503 and the lowest in inner Tarai at Rs 50,813, with an average of Rs 130, 115 in the 14 most affected districts.

About 135,200 tonnes of foodstuff, 16,399 large livestock, 36,819 small livestock, and 460,762 poultry animals have been lost in the Gorkha earthquake.

The agriculture sector suffered total damage and loss of Rs 25.5 billion, with maximum losses of 86 percent in the mountains and hills in 14 districts.

The fragility of the mountains compounded with poor attention from the government and concerned bodies to incorporate issues in mainstream development plans and programmes led to increased risks in the mountains during earthquake, said Bimala Rai Paudyal, a member of NPC and one of the reviewers of the framework.

Mountain voices are never heard seriously, she said.

“Our development goals are always focused on the places and people who are accessible. We lack adequate knowledge about context specific issues of mountains and its people,” according to Paudyal.The reconstruction and rebuilding phase after the earthquake has given us ample opportunity to remodel our development efforts and come up with context specific policies and programmes that would benefit the majority of the livelihoods.

The activities focusing on resilience of the mountain ecosystem and the communities dependent on its resources is a key intervention to protect the mountains from future disaster risks, the report stated.“We cannot come up with a blanket approach while addressing the post-disaster development. Mountain-specific plans and policies are the need of today and the government should urgently address this concern,” Paudyal said. – From KathmanduPost

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