Mercy Corps

After a disaster, the immediate concern of all humanitarian responders is - and should be - to help affected populations meet their basic, urgent needs. But how a response is conducted can have significant implications on how the community recovers - and how fast.

Working with local markets post-disaster can drive recovery and have a multiplier effect by:

  • injecting cash into the local economy
  • improving access to finance
  • providing economic opportunities for affected individuals
  • protecting local networks and social capital

Still, the most effective way to help communities cope with and recover from disaster is to bolster their resilience before a crisis even hits. This requires investing in long-term programming that builds local capacity, strengthens networks, and creates disaster-response plans. To ensure the immediate response maximizes long-term impact, donors and implementing agencies should:

  • Analyze local markets and other systems early and frequently, and work in partnership with local businesses and other actors as much as possible to support more widespread and sustainable recovery.
  • Fund and implement programmes focused on rebuilding local economies and supporting local businesses, in parallel to—not after—basic-needs response.
  • Support flexible funding for programmes and ensure they can adapt to quickly changing contexts and continue to be relevant to local needs.
  • Adapt approaches and lessons from longer-term development programmes to support disaster response and recovery.
  • Include disaster analysis and preparedness in development programmes and work toward the resilience of local communities.
  • Document the impact of market-based interventions on the speed and sustainability of disaster recovery.