More female-headed households insecure after 2015 quakes

Kathmandu, March 28

A new study has revealed that the 2015 earthquakes resulted in losses not only in terms of lives and physical infrastructures but also had an adverse impact on historical, social, cultural and economic aspects of the country and its population.

A socio-demographic impact study carried out by the Central Department of Population Studies under Tribhuvan University showed that insecurity and fear had increased among female-headed households following the earthquake. “Nine in every 10 female respondents said they had no feelings of insecurity before the earthquakes.”

More than one-third of the total population aged 10 years and above (36 per cent) was unmarried during the survey, while the number of singles was higher among females as compared to male.

“The marital status of members of 88 households  out of 12,870 (aged 10 years and above) changed following the earthquake and a majority of these married women (59.1 per cent) had either become widows or divorced/separated, followed by unmarried women (39.8 per cent) who had married following the earthquakes,” the study says.

The first ever socio-demographic impact study, which was carried out in the 14 worst-affected districts covering 14,987 people (7,568 females) from the 3,000 sampled households, also recorded a change in toilet facilities, with over 16 per cent reporting that they had toilet facilities before the earthquake but no longer thereafter.

“Over nine per cent households reported having no access to drinking water after the earthquake while eight per cent reported that electricity had been cut off,” it says.

The communities observed a decrease in food production and subsequently they have lost interest in cultivating crops after the earthquakes, survey quoted the respondents as saying.

The major reasons for not cultivating included land damage and no interest in working in the field.

School teachers, parents and community people were of the view that children’s learning attitude and cognitive development as well as their mental state was not yet conducive to better academic achievements while coverage of child immunisation was reported to have decreased by 58 per cent after the earthquakes, the report adds.

Participants of focus group discussions shared during the survey that children’s education was affected for at least two months after the earthquake and even after they were re-opened, the situation had not gone back to normal.

The study which found Tamang (26.3 per cent), Chhetri/Thakuri (18 per cent), followed by Newar, other hill janajatis, Brahmin and hill Dalits in the survey districts recommends different policy actions  meant to contribute to more cost-effective government policies on population dynamics.

The CDPS/TU conducted the study for the Ministry of Population and Environment with support from the United Nations Population Fund and the International Organisation for Migration. Minister for Population and Environment Jay Dev Joshi is scheduled to launch the study report in Singh Durbar tomorrow.


  • Marital status of several people, women in particular, changed
  • Percentage of women visiting health centres for antenatal care decreased by seven per cent
  • Percentage of women delivering bay in birthing centres increased from 55 to 72
  • Female respondents sheltering in temporary camps reported that they had problems during menstruation (32.3 per cent) and while changing clothes (34.6 per cent)
  • The size of the damaged land accounted for over one-third of the total arable land which implies that land based economy was affected by the earthquake
  • After earthquakes the population involved in agricultural sector decreased