This lessons paper aims to assist operational agencies responding to the 25 April 2015 Nepal earthquake. It provides 17 lessons drawn from experience of previous comparable disasters, based on evaluations, research papers and interviews with operational humanitarian practitioners. Key links to relevant information are provided after each lesson, with references provided at the end of the paper. Lessons are organised into two categories – ‘strategy and management’ and ‘technical delivery’.
Summary of lessons
Strategy and management
- Work with and through national and local actors, structures and networks.
- Use the extensive preparedness planning that has already taken place.
- Ensure that capacity development is seen and used as a vital form of aid.
- Coordination is essential and must be tailored to the Nepali context.
- Support pre-existing goods and service delivery systems.
- Logistics are critical and demand the effective brokerage of international expertise.
- Recognise the regional nature of the response.
- Understanding and anticipating population movements are essential.
- Pay special attention to marginalised, hidden and vulnerable populations, especially in urban areas.
- Assessment is the foundation for appropriate response.
- Use digital technology and engage in two-way communication with affected communities.
- Use cash-based programming linked with market analysis.
- Get ready for the monsoon with temporary durable shelters such as high-quality waterproof tents.
- Rebuild settlements safely to be ready for the next earthquake.
- Debris management: urban rubble presents a challenge, but also a resource.
- Health and WASH needs change quickly and require continuous assessment and adaptive responses.
- Emergency education efforts should address both immediate and long-term needs.
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