Tracking Relief Aid: A Spatial Analysis of Aid Distribution in Nepal After the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake
Abstract: The aftermath of the Gorkha earthquake was followed by a heavy critique of the government of Nepal for not distributing relief aid or responding to the disaster in a timely manner. Though many dimensions of the earthquake and its impacts have previously been examined, little research has been conducted on what factors impacted the spatial distribution of the relief aid that was actually delivered. Through a case study of the 14 districts declared by the Nepali government to be “crisis-hit”, this research has identified four factors that affected both the material and financial aid distribution processes: geographical accessibility, socioeconomic factors, human loss and injuries, and infrastrastructure damage. The study departs from a human geographical perspective and scrutinizes the concept of disaster risk reduction (DRR) through global frameworks of the post-2015 development agenda while examining how these frameworks are translated to the national and local levels in Nepal. Through the use of a mixed methods approach employing geospatial analysis, original interviews and quantitative evidence, the study concludes that material and financial relief aid was distributed unevenly between the 14 crisis-hit districts after the earthquake in most cases because of a combination of the four aforementioned factors. The study further concludes that local ownership of disaster preparedness and management efforts is essential for future disasters, especially since future large earthquakes are expected in the region.
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