Kathmandu, March 29

Minister for Population and Environment Jay Dev Joshi released a report ‘Nepal earthquake 2015: A socio-demographic impact study’ amidst a function here today.

Speaking at the function, Minister Joshi said comprehensive findings provided a basis for the formulation of development policies.

According to him, the report focused on socio-demographic impacts of the earthquake, that is, how households and communities had been affected, the level of local capacity to respond and how recovery and reconstruction efforts could be made more responsive.

Ministry’s Secretary Bishwa Nath Oli said the study was conducted with a focus on cultural diversity pertaining to household settings, including caste/ethnicity, population dynamics —fertility, mortality, migration — as well as population size, composition and distribution.

Presenting the findings, Head of Tribhuvan University Central Department of Population Studies Ram Sharan Pathak said the study was meant to contribute to more cost-effective government policies on population dynamics in a post-disaster scenario.

On the occasion, Kristine Blokhus, deputy representative of the United Nations Population Fund, said the results of the study showed that women, girls, children, people with disabilities and some ethnic groups experienced a variety of very specific vulnerabilities before and after the earthquake implying that any future humanitarian response must go beyond the immediate provision of food and shelter.

“An overarching finding of the study is that those who were most vulnerable to start with are the ones who have been forced to rely on negative coping mechanisms. Existing vulnerabilities were exacerbated. This is of course not surprising but having the evidence helps us to ensure a greater focus on building community resilience,” the UNFPA official added.

Chief of the Mission for International Office for Migration Paul Norton said the major findings of the research would be helpful for policymakers while framing development policies.

The study conducted by CDPS with support from MoPE, UNFPA and IoM, has recommended 19 policy actions based on the findings. The policy actions include taking advantage of the fact that the economically active population is present in the affected districts, there is a need to provide them with appropriate skills for and employment opportunities related to reconstruction activities and connect this initiative to long-term economic and livelihood opportunities in order to prevent this age group from migrating.

To respond to the changes observed in the marital status of females, including those under the age of 18, after the earthquake, further analysis can be conducted to understand the extent to which the changes affected adolescent groups belonging to specific caste and ethnic groups in order to inform appropriate interventions to prevent future early marriages, it adds.

“Recognising that the earthquakes affected different communities disproportionately due to their different socio-economic statuses and geographical locations, appropriate measures can be taken to ensure equity-based reconstruction support prevails over blanket interventions,” the report says.