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Reframing Shelter Self-Recovery: Women's Experiences of Post Disaster Reconstruction in Machhegaun, Nepal, after the 2015 Earthquake

Carbonell Jaramillo, Lucila; (2021) Reframing Shelter Self-Recovery: Women's Experiences of Post Disaster Reconstruction in Machhegaun, Nepal, after the 2015 Earthquake. Doctoral thesis (Eng.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal had a devastating effect on human well-being, claiming nearly 8,800 lives and destroying the built environment. Governmental and humanitarian agencies put policies and programmes in place to support shelter self-recovery, enable disaster survivors to be primary decision-makers, and encourage safer reconstruction. While these agencies recognised the importance of prioritising the needs of women and other groups in vulnerable situations, reports show the support they implemented did not reach these groups. Many found themselves left in situations far worse than those in which they had lived prior to the disaster; some, such as elderly, low-income single women with no formal land tenure, were left homeless. This research finds that part of the problem lies in how the shelter sector defines and uses the term ‘shelter self-recovery’. Very similar to ‘owner-driven reconstruction’, it refers to how people themselves recover, and at the same time, to the approaches taken by agencies to support disaster survivors. The research analyses how the term is used, drawing on the precedents of ‘self-help housing’ and ‘gender in post-disaster reconstruction’ literature, to find it is a technical approach that prioritises the distribution of resources to individual households and omits in-depth consideration of the gendered and intersectional character of recovery. This research aims to reframe the term ‘shelter self-recovery’ from women’s experiences using a social justice analytical framework. With a single case study and qualitative methods, it explores - through thematic analysis - in-depth data on the recovery experiences of thirty-three women and four men, six focus group discussions, and twenty additional key informant interviews. The research maps the complexity of the ‘shelter self-recovery’ process and highlights how, while systemic social inequalities constrain women’s access to land and tenure, to finance and livelihoods and to administrative knowledge, collective groups in the area were taking actions that successfully addressed these constraints. These observations lead to a reframing of ‘shelter self-recovery’ as an integrated approach that acknowledges the simultaneity of multiple social identities, partners with women-led local initiatives to define shelter needs, participate in formulating policies and programmes, and enable women to lead on decision-making.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Eng.D
Title: Reframing Shelter Self-Recovery: Women's Experiences of Post Disaster Reconstruction in Machhegaun, Nepal, after the 2015 Earthquake
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128658
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