State of Livelihood Assets in theEarthquake Affected Areas:A Way Forward(W-109)

State of Livelihood Assets in theEarthquake Affected Areas:A Way Forward(W-109)

Publication details

  • Tuesday | 01 Jan, 2008
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Sobia Nazeer Ahmad
  • Working Papers
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Sobia Nazeer Ahmad* and Abid Qaiyum Suleri** September 2008

Since the 8 October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, relief efforts have given way to recovery and rehabilitation initiatives. Numerous non-government organizations are supplementing the Government in efforts to revive the economy of those living in the earthquake-affected areas mainly in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir province. The focus is now on livelihood rehabilitation. Policy-makers are presently focusing on strategies to rebuild livelihoods of vulnerable groups based on their financial losses as a consequence to the earthquake. However, these strategies target rebuilding lost financial assets (for example donating livestock and poultry), rather than ensure sustainability by strengthening capital assets and diverting livelihood dependency on income that is less vulnerable to shocks. Therefore, there is a danger that interventions may not result in ensuring sustainable livelihoods.

This paper aims at highlighting the need to move beyond developing a limited approach to livelihood restoration in the earthquake-affected areas. In order to do so, the Department for International Development (DFID) sustainable livelihoods framework is used to analyze people’s lives in terms of capital assets held within an external context of vulnerability to shocks. In the current case, the approach centers on studying the vulnerabilities caused by the earthquake on human, financial, physical, natural, and social assets, and suggests ways to strengthen these assets in order to make them resilient to such vulnerabilities in future. Information to assess the situation of capital assets before and after the earthquake, and to observe the present policy interventions was gathered through questionnaires and focus group discussions across eight villages in the NWFP and AJ&K.