Governing community relocation after major disasters: An analysis of three different approaches and its outcomes in Asia [Summary]

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Virginia Tech

Over the past decade, post-disaster recovery efforts have increasingly aimed to relocate communities, with the idea that well-designed plans and implementation will lead to increased resilience. While the rationale has been that relocating away from hazards will reduce the risk of future devastation, in practice relocation has long been the least favored policy option. Communities targeted for relocation are often disadvantaged to begin with, and relocation disturbs their social networks and economic well-being, pushing them further into destitution. In light of this, it is important to understand good relocation governance, particularly ways in which local governments carry out relocation with local actors, and especially considering increasing rates of post-disaster relocation efforts. This study focuses on three recovery cases – earthquake and tsunamis in Tohoku (Japan), storm surge in Leyte (the Philippines), and volcanic eruption in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) – to examine different governmental approaches to community relocation. Specifically, it explores how program design and governance structure impacts implementation and success of community relocation, and how that effects community engagement and the ultimate outcomes of relocation in a long-term.