ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONALITY AS AN INVISIBLE ENGINE FOR DISASTER RECOVERY: A REFLECTION FROM THE 2015 NEPAL EARTHQUAKE
Dr. Maki Ito Tsumagari (Nepal Administrative Staff College / Japan International Cooperation Agency)
The 2015 Nepal Earthquake (7.8 magnitude) resulted in widespread damage and destruction to lives and properties. In one of the 14 most severely affected districts, Sindhupalchok, the death toll reached 3,469 (16% of total casualty, and a little over 5% of the district population of 65,802), and the number of house damage counted more than 50,000 totally damaged and 15,000 partially damaged. Amid such a calamity, a cadre of “citizen facing” public servants calmly and orderly attended to the locals’ needs. The scene was reported by the author in Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), a rapid damage and recovery needs assessment by the Government of Nepal with cooperation from the donor community. Four years since, the author re-interviewed the very public administration officer she had met and discussed in Sindhupalchowk District Administration Office. With the aid of media and other fact-based records, the author drew recollection of this officer prior and after the earthquake as a purposive case study and delineated what unfolded as critical for his office to sustain service. This article attempted to shed light on what made a difference in public service delivery under a disaster situation and presents implications for those concerned with disaster preparedness in public administration.
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