Recovering from disasters: a study of livelihoods in post-quake villages in northern Pakistan

Disasters. 2015 Apr;39(2):339-61. doi: 10.1111/disa.12104. Epub 2014 Nov 28.


The October 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan severely affected the livelihoods of 1.5 million people. With the destruction of material assets and communications infrastructure, the quake had a devastating impact on people's way of life in this remote mountainous region. This paper explores livelihood revival interventions undertaken during the earthquake response, and considers how differentiated livelihood outcomes were achieved. In addressing this objective the paper examines livelihood rehabilitation schemes in terms of structural aspects, working strategies, key factors, strengths of interventions and the role of human agency in influencing livelihood trajectories of quake-affected communities. Primary data for this study was gathered in northern Pakistan between October 2008 and January 2009. The study identifies structural shortcomings and strengths of the programmes attempting to revive the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable households. It identifies how households in two villages made the most of opportunities to improve their lives and move towards favourable outcomes.

Keywords: human agency; livelihoods; northern Pakistan; post-disaster recoveries.

MeSH terms

  • Disasters*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Financial Support*
  • Humans
  • Pakistan
  • Poverty
  • Program Evaluation
  • Relief Work / economics*
  • Vulnerable Populations