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The potential of Nepal’s social security allowance schemes to support emergency flood response

Research report

Written by Rebecca Holmes, Fiona Samuels, John Twigg, Martin Evans

Research report

Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards. While every year Nepal faces predictable seasonal weather patterns which often result in floods, droughts or fires, the country also experiences more severe natural hazards which are likely to increase in frequency and intensity in the future.

In 2017, devastating floods hit 27 of the country’s 75 districts, affecting 1.7 million people. The floods destroyed almost 65,000 homes and displaced 461,000 people, resulting in a lack of food, water, sanitation, medicines, shelter, education, recovery and protection.

Nepal’s approach to disasters has shifted in recent years to promoting resilience and preparedness as well as response. In addition, innovative approaches by emergency and development actors have sought to respond to an increasing scale of need. The role of social protection in responding to shocks is one of these approaches and has seen increased high-level policy attention in recent years. This includes a focus on the potential use of cash-based responses through the existing social security allowance (SSA) system to respond to emergencies (as was done in the 2015 Ghorka earthquake), as well identifying the need for feasible and sustainable approaches to respond to shocks under the evolving federal system.

In this context, the aim of this study is to complement ongoing work on the role of social protection in responding to emergencies in the country. The study uses a mixed-methods research approach to assess the potential role of the social SSA schemes to support emergency response efforts in future floods. Specifically, it assesses the robustness of targeting and coverage in the context of flood response, the social acceptability of using SSA schemes to support emergency response, and capacity and coordination issues in delivering a timely response to a flood-affected population.

Rebecca Holmes, Fiona Samuels, Martin Evans, Anita Ghimire and John Twigg