What Works in the Community in the Aftermath of a Crisis
Author: Subrata Lamsal Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

In the immediate aftermath of a crisis, before the arrival of any external support, a community is left to its own devices to come up with coping mechanisms that can help it deal with the immediate problems at hand. Such was the case with many communities that were devastated by the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015. Several actors from within the community came together to respond to the urgency of the situation. However, given the social structure and the socio-political context of the country at the time of the earthquake, coupled with the inability of the government to respond to the needs of the people in a timely manner, their actions were not sufficient to completely mitigate the adverse effects of the earthquake. However, coping mechanisms of a community, when bolstered properly can increase the efficiency and impact of community-led actions aimed at dealing with any crisis. Moreover, in the post-earthquake scenario, communities can also be mobilized to participate in the rebuilding process to ensure local ownership and sustainability of the tasks undertaken. This paper presents the various coping mechanisms communities demonstrated in the aftermath of the earthquake. In doing so, the paper also identifies areas where the government can reform its policies to better support coping strategies of local communities in the long term.