In Nepal, tapping local labor to fast-track recovery

A porter in Nepal. An organization uses porters to distribute aid in hard-to-reach areas in the earthquake-hit country as a way to fast-track recovery by tapping local labor. Photo by: Kiril Rusev / CC BY-NC-ND

The U.N. World Food Program has teamed up with Nepal’s largest trekking associations to haul relief to high-altitude villages damaged by the earthquake that slammed the country April 25.

The deal with the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal and the Nepal Mountaineering Association is not just about overcoming logistical challenges to distributing aid in the mountainous country. It’s also a way to fast-track recovery by tapping local labor, according to Richard Ragan, WFP’s emergency coordinator in Nepal.

“We’ve been using porters for years in Nepal,” Ragan told Devex. “It’s not really something that’s new to us in the country, but it’s new in the sense that we’re using disaster relief as a way to press into recovery and rehabilitation much faster than we would normally.”

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake and the numerous aftershocks that followed destroyed infrastructure supporting a budding trekking industry in Langtang region — between the popular Annapurna and Everest routes — with landslides wiping out villages and cutting off tracks.

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About the author

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    Alys Francis

    Alys Francis is a freelance journalist covering development and other news in South Asia for international media outlets. Based in India, she travels widely around the region and has covered major events, including national elections in India and Nepal. She is interested in how technology is aiding development and rapidly altering societies.

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