Almost all districts across the Far West face losses of lives and property every year due to natural disasters in Nepal. However, the impact can last well beyond the immediate event. Humanitarian actors have observed that the duration of displacement varies depending on the intensity and type of disaster: displacement following inundation of rivers is generally short term, while displacement resulting from floods and erosion is generally longer term.
Kailali and Kanchanpur were severely affected by floods in 2008 and 2009 that caused life and property losses as well as displacement in both districts. Determining the exact number of displaced in Kailali and the duration of their displacement is difficult however, as the District Administration Office (DAO) has no concrete figures. The Kailali Red Cross Society (NRCS) estimates that some 950 families are displaced among four different settlements. The Kanchanpur DAO reports there are 308 displaced families currently sheltering in four locations.
Potentially hundreds of families remain displaced and vulnerable years after natural disasters struck them. District authorities have yet to grasp the full extent of the needs; only Kanchanpur district has made concrete progress to systematically assess and record the number and location of disaster displaced. No districts have developed concrete rehabilitation strategies to date. The 2008 Government decision is yet to be implemented and there are questions about the determination and capacity of local officials to do so. In addition, the basic needs of these displaced groups become increasingly blurred with broader issues of acute poverty or landlessness shared by many communities. This complicates both needs assessment and assistance provision, and creates an atmosphere of confusion that can easily be taken advantage of.
All districts are developing Disaster Preparedness and Response Plans to reduce the risk of natural disasters and improve response across humanitarian clusters. However, these plans are focused on future disasters and do not necessarily examine the needs of those displaced previously. District Disaster Response Committees can be encouraged to and assisted in assessing the rehabilitation needs of already affected groups. Such assessments are important not only to advocate for rehabilitation support but also to draw a line between those directly impacted by disaster and other groups seeking support, thereby reducing confusion. Further advocacy is also needed to increase the resources available for rehabilitation assistance generally. While real progress is being made in disaster prevention, the need to assist those already impacted cannot be forgotten.
For full report: