A field study was conducted in six Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Ilam district to identify common disasters linked with climate change and people’s response mechanisms to those disasters in farming communities. Altogether, 300 randomly selected households facing different disaster problems were interviewed
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A field study was conducted in six Village Development Committees (VDCs) of Ilam district to identify common disasters linked with climate change and people’s response mechanisms to those disasters in farming communities. Altogether, 300 randomly selected households facing different disaster problems were interviewed using a structured and semi-structured questionnaire, which was supplemented by direct observation, timeline analysis, a key informant interview, and a focus group discussion. In addition, secondary data were collected from the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), Ilam, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), Ilam. Farmers’ perceptions and the reviewed literature revealed that floods, landslides, droughts, insect pests, hailstorms, and fires comprise a major disaster risk, and they have been affecting agriculture, livelihood, physical infrastructure, and property for years. It was found that different types of loss, such as landslides, have the following risks and impacts: loss of land (45% of families) and crops (90%), property loss (10%), loss of physical resources (50%), effects on water resources (69%), loss of livestock (5%), forest degradation (72%) and loss of human life (3%). The risks and impacts of flood, drought, and fire are also presented in this study. It was also found that local communities adopt different mitigation measures for different disasters including afforestation, checking dam construction, awareness creation, contour farming, relocation, shed reconstruction, construction of plastic ponds, and conservation of local varieties (different frequencies for different measures). Social networks play an important role in mitigating disaster risks. People get help from government (38% families) and non-government (50% families) organizations, friends (22%), neighbors (44%) and relatives (20%) in the form of loans (18%), helping hands or physical support (77%), information (62%), and basic need materials (48%) to manage or respond to disaster risks. The paper suggests that local mitigation measures need to be supplemented by more sustainable solutions to make the efforts sustainable, which requires local level integrated planning and coordinated efforts.