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With support from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, a programme managed by ELRHA, the earthquake risk and remittances research project from Practical Action and the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium (NRRC) began in February 2014. This research project will look at the possible links between migrant remittances – where migrants send the majority of their salary to their families in their home country – and earthquake risk, particularly through building construction practices, and how organizations can best communicate with migrant workers on risk reduction issues. Within this, the research project will also identify how migrant workers receive information and communicate with their households. Most research that has been done in the area of migrants and disasters has focused on post-disaster response. This research project will look at the relationship between migrant workers, remittances and disaster risk reduction.

The questionnaire has been finalized through multiple rounds of stakeholder consultations. Based on the valuable inputs from our partners, we have made the revisions and completed pre-testing of the questionnaire in Nepal. With the questionnaire finalized and ready to go, we got in contact with a group of university students to support in surveying and data collection. With a team of 7 surveyors, we managed to complete 400 surveys in Kathmandu (using random sampling) in just 8 days. Now, we are looking to send the same team out to Jhapa district in Nepal to conduct surveys in emerging cities in that district. By focusing on an established city, like Kathmandu, and emerging cities in Jhapa, we would to gather a wide spectrum of information to understand the role of remittances in earthquake preparedness.

In addition to conducting the surveys in Nepal, we have been in contact with organizations in Qatar and South Korea to conduct surveys with migrant workers in the respective countries. This task has been more challenging. Finding the suitable organizations and individuals required utilising professional networks established by NGOs and partners in Nepal. However, once in contact with organizations interested in conducting surveys, we were made aware of the logistical difficulties in each of the countries. For example, in both countries (especially in Qatar), migrant workers work long hours (up to 16 hours a day) and live in compounds. Finding the time to reach these migrants to do the survey is a challenge. In addition, there are certain sensitivities in conducting research with migrants in these countries. We are now working with our partners in Qatar and South Korea to identify the best way forward in reaching migrants in an efficient and effective manner that maintains confidentiality.

With surveying in Nepal expected to be completed in the next 2 weeks, we hope to begin surveying in Qatar and South Korea by 16 May with completion be the first week of June. From there, the focus will be on data analysis and drafting a report.

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