The 25 April 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, including the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Dolakha, has caused devastation in Nepal on a scale not seen since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar Earthquake. According to the Government of Nepal, the Gorkha earthquake and aftershocks have damaged or destroyed nearly 900,000 buildings and approximately 2.3 million people continue to be displaced. The Gorkha earthquake created an unprecedented need for emergency shelter as well as temporary and transitional housing. A CEDIM-led research team conducted 284 household surveys in 177 locations spanning 27 Municipalities/VDCs and 7 districts. Types of shelter sites varied to include officially provided and spontaneous sites, located in urban and rural areas, and ranging from emergency shelter to temporary and transitional housing. The purpose of the study is to better understand the factors that increase vulnerability to being displaced. This report reviews the emergent issues with respect to decision processes of displaced households seeking shelter and temporary housing.
We analyzed the current shelter response situation with a view on emerging factors critical to forming an appropriate shelter policy which will account for the vulnerability of displaced populations in Kathmandu and affected areas across Nepal. We found that many displaced residents sought refuge close to their homes in open spaces, with housing damage, and the threat of landslides and aftershocks being the main drivers to seeking shelter. After the earthquake most households continued to visit their homes even if severely damaged or destroyed. Within the shelter sites, sanitation, water and food were the main issues. A majority of households also admitted to suffering from emotional difficulties, and more than half confirmed that women in their households experienced additional problems.
Regarding future plans, many households were planning on staying in their current shelter during the monsoon with the majority of these being households from rural areas. And almost one third of households stated they would not be able to return to permanent housing within the next 10 years without financial assistance. The current situation is that many households have little money to rebuild or recover, as a large majority of households had experienced a severe impact on their ability to generate income. Many also have nowhere to go as homes were destroyed, and for some, their land has been wiped out by landslides. While the extent to which each household has been impacted by the earthquake varies, all are at a critical moment in planning for their future and re-establishing their home plays a major role.