Sindhupalchowk, Nepal, in early September. Photo by Code for Nepal volunteer.

Sindhupalchowk, Nepal, in early September. Photo by Code for Nepal volunteer.

During August and September 2015, Code for Nepal conducted a pilot survey project in Nepal to gather data on earthquake survivors’ receipt of relief in the initial weeks and months following the April and May 2015 earthquakes.

The pilot survey was designed to capture how immediate relief was provided by the involved stakeholders and to identify any unmet needs among survivors.

This pilot was the first step in Code for Nepal’s larger initiative Rahat Payo (Did you get relief?). Rahat Payo is a multi-year project of Code for Nepal. It aims to fill the gaps that exists in the aid distribution, relief and recovery process in the aftermath of the earthquake that killed over 8,500 people, destroyed more than 600,000 houses and affected at least 8 million people in Nepal. 

Through the initial Rahat Payo pilot in August-September 2015, Code for Nepal volunteers surveyed 767 earthquake survivors in five districts (Kathmandu, Gorkha, Bhaktapur, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk) in Nepal. Over the span of 14 days, eight volunteers went to at least 40 locations to find out whether earthquake survivors had been helped and what their immediate and long-term needs were.

In this post, we share the initial summary statistics and findings of the August 2015 survey. Our intent is to start a conversation in Nepal around earthquake relief and reconstruction efforts, to ensure that aid reaches those in need in an equitable and efficient manner.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share additional data that was gathered in Village Development Committees (VDCs) through this pilot survey.

We are also launching an online version of the Rahat Payo survey, at: Rahatpayo.org, to continue collecting data on earthquake relief efforts.

Please help us improve our survey and methodology. You can comment below, or on social media using hashtag #didugetrelief & #rahatpayo.

Methodology

Code for Nepal used Kobo Toolbox to conduct the August-September 2015 pilot. The survey that we used can be found here: www.bit.ly/reliefsurvey. We are continuing to refine these questions based on the pilot, in order to improve the online Rahat Payo survey as well as future survey work in Nepal.

Eight Nepali volunteers were recruited to conduct the pilot in August-September. After an initial training on Kobo, volunteers traveled to at least 40 sites within Nepal to conduct the survey and gather data using mobile devices.

The locations volunteers traveled to were determined based on feasibility of travel, and so were non-random. However, once in a town or village to conduct the survey, volunteers sought to randomize data collection by using an object such as a bottle to choose a random starting point from the village center, and the proceeding to the nearest houses from the village center to the village outskirts, interviewing each head of household who was home and seeking to alternate male and female survey respondents.

When visiting homes, volunteers explained their purpose and clearly stated that they were there to conduct surveys and not provide relief. After an introductory conversation and with the consent of respondents, surveyors took approximately 10 minutes per household to administer the survey verbally.

Findings

The survey sample included 467 males and 300 females. The average age of respondents was 44 years old. Of the 767 total respondents, 642 (84%) said they received some form of relief. Most respondents who received relief (573 out of 642, or 89%) had to wait more than 8 days to get any form of help, according to the survey.

However, in reality, the amount of time participants waited to receive relief was often longer than eight days (the upper limit included in the survey questions). Anecdotally, numerous participants noted that it took two to three months to receive relief.

The survey also included questions on the sources of earthquake relief, including the government, NGOs, youth groups, etc. Among survey respondents who received relief, 474 (74%) said they received help from the government, 391 (61%) reported receiving aid from NGOs, and 45 (7%) said they received help from youth groups. However, in practice, many respondents were not entirely sure if they had received aid from the government or an NGO. Often they didn’t know who they received aid from at all.

Respondents were also asked about their priorities post-earthquake. In response, 437 (57%) said rebuilding their homes was their top priority, while 643 (84%) said employment was their top priority, and 116 (15%) said they might also look for foreign employment.