Think Beyond the Household to Help Communities Recover from Disaster

If we can strengthen traders’ and banks’ ability to serve cattle farmers who have lost valuable assets after a natural disaster, we can help a greater number of farmers for months and years to come

After a flood or an earthquake, humanitarian responders focus first on meeting urgent and basic needs of families affected by disaster in order to save lives and provide immediate relief. But a new report from Mercy Corps shows some of the greatest impact in disaster recovery may come months and years later through support to local markets and financial institutions that these populations rely on most to cope and recover. The study was funded by JPMorgan Chase and implemented in collaboration with the SEEP network, a nonprofit that supports economic opportunities for vulnerable populations.

“If we can – for example – strengthen traders’ and banks’ ability to serve cattle farmers who have lost valuable assets after a natural disaster, we can help a greater number of farmers for months and years to come,” says Alison Hemberger, Senior Advisor for Market Systems Development at Mercy Corps. “These kinds of interventions have incredibly powerful ripple effects that last beyond the delivery of direct aid.”

The report highlights a number of case studies. In one, an aid group recognized the crippling damage the dairy market sustained following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. In the weeks after the earthquake, the group conducted a market analysis to identify road closures, livestock damage, closed collection facilities and staffing issues. Humanitarian organizations and the local government used these metrics to return the dairy supply chain – one of the country’s most important industries – to its full capacity.

“This work…

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