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Abstract: Nepal is located in a highly active seismic zone. This has been evident from the 7.8 magnitude tremor that was felt on April 25, 2015 with numerous aftershocks. In light of a lot of financial aid that started pouring in from numerous humanitarian organizations, the supports received from remittances have been largely forgotten. This research aims to determine the role of remittances in ex-ante disaster preparedness through the linkage between remittances and safer building practices. The primary source of information comes from two questionnaire surveys: (1) administered to migrant workers in Qatar and South Korea and (2) administered to remittance dependent and non-dependent households in Kathmandu valley and Jhapa. The study shows that there is a significant contribution of remittances in building construction practices. From the surveys conducted in Kathmandu valley and Jhapa, it is seen that remittance dependent households allocated 20% of remittance income received in last 12 months for construction practices. Similarly, migrant workers in South Korea and Qatar allocated 18.1% and 7% of remittances for construction purposes back home.

In terms of ex ante preparedness, remittance dependent household have a statistically significant and positive impact on the ownership of concrete houses. In contrast, regarding use of engineer and awareness of building code for safe construction, the likelihood of the remittance contributing to better quality and strong house using engineer and awareness of building code for safe construction tends to decrease. Thus, the study shows that remittances are fueling unsafe construction practices in Nepal and increasing earthquake risk.

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