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Social capital and livelihood strategies in response after 2013 Kedarnath disaster (India)

Sakshi Naithani (Department of Geography, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India) (Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, India)
Ashis Kumar Saha (Department of Geography, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 2 March 2020

Issue publication date: 12 March 2021



The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the role of livelihood assets, strategies and local social networks in disaster response and recovery in post-disaster setting of 2013 Kedarnath disaster (India).


It identifies post disaster macro-spaces of Mandakini river valley (India) using change detection analysis and secondary data. Within these macro-spaces, the micro spaces of livelihood and social capital were assessed by selecting two villages for case study.


Most important issues faced by communities were loss of lives, livelihoods and access to relief aid. A shift in economic base of families suffering loss of livelihoods was observed as they switched from pilgrimage-based to skill-based opportunities. Geographical location and isolation play a crucial role in recovery trajectory of villages by influencing the social capital.

Research limitations/implications

The paper being case study based deals two of the worst-affected villages; livelihood strategies adopted and social network may be influenced by the “victim” status of villages and may not be generalized for each disaster-affected area.

Social implications

Bridging and bonding networks were significant in geographically isolated places, while “linkages” were beneficial in bringing new livelihood opportunities. Need to enhance the role of social capital by institutional intervention in form of capacity building was required.


The study suggests focus on human capital-based livelihood diversification programs taking geographical location and disaster context into account.



The research has been carried out under partial financial assistance from DST-SERB Research Grant for Young Scientists to Dr. A.K. Saha. S. Naithani is grateful to University Grants Commission, Government of India, for junior research fellowship. Comments and suggestions of Dr. Anindita Datta during the research work are highly appreciated.


Naithani, S. and Saha, A.K. (2021), "Social capital and livelihood strategies in response after 2013 Kedarnath disaster (India)", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 179-193.



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