The Nepal Earthquake: A one year reflection

Posted on May 31, 2016


By Conor O` Loughlin, Humanitarian Coordinator, Trócaire

One year ago, on April 25th 2015, the first in a succession of massive earthquakes rocked Nepal. Almost nine thousand people lost their lives in the disaster. Over twenty thousand people were injured, many maimed for life. The earthquakes have impacted an estimated eight million Nepalis- almost one third of the population. As is common with natural disasters in developing countries, the effect on hard earned development gains has been immense. The Government of Nepal estimates that the disaster pushed nearly one million vulnerable Nepalis back into poverty.

What struck me on arriving in Kathmandu in the days after the earthquake was how the vast majority of areas devastated were the poorer districts of the city, where low-income workers lived in badly constructed buildings that could not withstand the shock. The devastation of poor rural communities in mountainous areas further underscored this. Over half million buildings were destroyed or damaged beyond repair, most of those occupied or owned by the poorest in Nepalese society. Now, one year on, how well has Nepal recovered?  And what has been Ireland’s contribution to this humanitarian response?

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Ireland and relocated migrants: How is Ireland facing its humanitarian obligation?

Posted on August 17, 2015

RachelBarrett image

By Rachel Barrett, Research Programme Officer for International Development, Trinity College Dublin

Mass drownings in the Mediterranean shocked Europe. Conflict and instability in the Middle East and Africa have increased the push factor for those affected to risk their lives trying to reach Europe.  The EU has ambitions to harmonise its asylum process, seeking to unify the rules across the 28 states.  Migration remains a highly politicised topic across member states, thus harmonising asylum remains an elusive goal. 


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Call for solidarity


Posted on August 4, 2015

This post is published on behalf of, and in solidarity with, Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco who is due to be tried in Mozambique for his comments on Facebook.


Dear friends and colleagues,

As you may know, the General Attorney's Office (PGR) in Mozambique is taking to court two separate yet related cases: one against me and the other against journalists Fernando Mbanze and Fernando Veloso. The court set the trial for the 3rd of August 2015, but through my lawyer, João Carlos Trindade, I have requested it to be postponed until the 31st of August. We are still waiting for a decision, which may be made soon. But until a decision on my appeal is made by the court, the trial is set for the 3rd of August. With regard to the charges, I have been charged with crimes against State security for defamation of the then-president of Mozambique. Mbanze and Veloso, the editors of MediaFax and Canal de Moçambique, two independent newspapers that published my Facebook post, have been charged with abuse of freedom of the press.

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Irish Humanitarian Summit: Reflections on subsidiarity as a humanitarian value

Posted on July 7, 2015

Rob Kevlihan

By Rob Kevlihan, Executive Director, Kimmage Development Studies Centre and Convenor of the DSAI Humanitarian Action Study Group





The Irish Humanitarian Consultative Process culminated on July 2nd last with a Summit, held in UCD, which included participation from across a wide range of actors with an interest in humanitarian action, including government, NGOs, the private sector and academia. It represented, together with the Recommendations Report presented at the Summit, the culmination of an exhaustive almost year long process and is unprecedented in the history of Irish humanitarian action. The team involved in managing this process, including Pat Gibbons and Brian Casey from UCD, are to be congratulated on a demanding job, done well, as are all those who participated in the discussions throughout the process. The recommendations from this process will be taken forward to the UN Secretary General’s World Humanitarian Summit, scheduled to be held in Istanbul in May 2016.


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Shit Stunts: Refocusing Priorities in Nutrition and WaSH

Posted on May 28, 2015


by Siobhan Nestor, Clinical Nutritionist

Nutrition and WaSH Integration, Research and Future Challenges

Integration of Nutrition and WaSH programmes was the key topic discussed at the multi sectorial panel seminar hosted by Irish Aid, the IFGH and the Development Studies Association of Ireland on the 19th May.

Jacinta Greene and Dr. Sean Farren of DSA Ireland introduced the panel of speakers, consisting of Professor Robert Chambers, Research Associate at the Institute of Development Studies; Niall Roche, WaSH / Environmental Health consultant; Mags Gaynor of Irish Aid; and Kate Golden, Senior Nutrition Advisor to Concern Worldwide. Attendees drew from anthropologists, health professionals, nutritionists, WaSH advisers, NGO programme managers, researchers and policy makers.


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Is Migration the Elephant in the Room?

Posted on May 11, 2015

Michael Seifu(2)

by Michael Seifu, Researcher (Dublin College University)

Oft-times economics and politics fail to see eye to eye on vital public policy issues. What makes much economic sense tends to lack adequate political leverage and vice versa. It is not a symmetrical power relationship either since more often than not politics comes out the winner. This brief note highlights one particular instance with much untapped potential to addressing global poverty.

The curious case of international economic migration

International migration could arguably be a textbook example in which good economics has constantly become the sacrificial lamb for bad politics. Despite overwhelming evidence indicating substantial positive net economic gains to both sides, rich countries governments’ policies towards inward migration from the poorest parts of the world remains stubbornly distorted.


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Nepal earthquake: lessons learnt from responding to earthquakes

Posted on April 29, 2015

Hans Zomer

by Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas 

On Saturday 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the Himalayan nation of Nepal, killing hundreds of people and setting off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

Nepal is located in South Asia, home to one fifth of humanity and one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world.  The region experiences some 100,000 minor quakes every year, and one of magnitude 8 or greater every 25 years. Yet lax building standards, densely concentrated urban centres and poorly planned towns make the region's population extremely vulnerable to the fallout from tremors.

While the international emergency response takes off and comes to the aid of the people in Nepal overwhelmed by this enormous tragedy, Irish NGOs warn that decisions made in the early phases of the response will determine the success of the country’s reconstruction efforts for years to come.

Earthquakes are different from other disasters.

 Earthquakes are the most deadly natural disasters, accounting for some 60% of the deaths caused by natural disasters in the 2000-2009 period.

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Thomas Pogge and the challenge of global justice

Posted on April 19, 2015


by Mark Kernan, Independent Researcher

Philosopher Thomas Pogge in World Poverty and Human Rights asks a deceptively simple and ultimately moral question on the nature of what he calls the ‘global institutional order’: can authentic reform be made of this international order, and can any proposed reform better align with our moral values in order to alleviate the suffering of the global poor?

By global institutional order (GIO) he is referring to the architecture of global economic, financial and political governance, for example the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and increasingly private actors such as multinational corporations and financial investment instruments; private equity and hedge funds for example.


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Understanding aid dynamics: are aid allocations truly based on need?

Posted on February 9, 2015 by Rob Kevlihan

Rob Kevlihan

By Rob Kevlihan, Executive Director, Kimmage Development Studies Centre

Are decisions with respect to the allocation of humanitarian aid truly based on needs? Myself, Karl De Rouen Jnr (link: )  and Glen Biglaiser (link: ) attempted to answer this question by looking at assistance provided USAID’s Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to over 100 countries over a 20 year period, between 1989 and 2009.

This period spans the end of the Cold War, and periods pre and post 9/11, including US led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. My own expectation, which is probably shared by most development practitioners, is that foreign policy considerations would trump measures of need as a predictor of where humanitarian aid was allocated, particularly post 9/11, despite repeated public commitments on the part of the US government to respond to natural and man-made disasters based on needs alone. 


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