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Session 31: Relocation and Resettlement Challenges
Wednesday, 31/Aug/2016:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Elisa SERAFINELLI, University of Sheffield
Session Chair: James Michael SHULTZ, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Room: Flüela

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Rebuilt Risk: Involuntary Return, Voluntary Migration, and Socioeconomic Segregation in Post-Tsunami Aceh

Jamie W MCCAUGHEY1,2, Patrick DALY1, Ibnu MUNDZIR3, Saiful MAHDI3,4, Anthony PATT2

1Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University; 2Climate Policy Group, ETH Zürich; 3International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies, Aceh, Indonesia; 4Faculty of Statistics, Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Resettlement choices after a disaster often involve a trade-off between the risk of recurrence of a disaster and the risks that relocation may pose to livelihoods, social patterns, and land rights. Many studies find that people tend to return after a disaster; consistent with this, a consensus has emerged in the humanitarian sector that it is best to avoid relocation. We ask whether this is what people actually want, using the case of post-tsunami Banda Aceh City, Indonesia.

Following the 2004 tsunami there, survivors were generally offered housing aid only to return to their original land. We find that this did not suit a substantial proportion of the affected population, using new quantitative and qualitative evidence from 1160 households and 121 village leaders. While many survivors wanted to return, some wanted to relocate further from the coast but did not have the chance to do so. Since that time, selective out-migration by those with the means and socioeconomic sorting of newcomers have led to a new socioeconomic segregation of the tsunami-affected parts of the city. More broadly, these findings suggest that short-distance socioeconomic sorting into and out from exposed areas may be an important migratory response to a newly recognized risk.

The Relocation Challenges in Coastal Urban Centers: Options and Limitations

Anamaria BUKVIC

Virginia Tech, United States of America

An increasing number of coastal urban centers are considering relocation as an effective disaster risk reduction strategy contributing to the broader integrated efforts to ensure their long-term viability and resilience. Coastal communities are especially prone to the myriad of accelerating challenges such as sea level rise, storm surge, erosion, land subsidence, and ecosystem degradation due to development and unsustainable land use. Some of these impacts have already been forcing displacement of residents who could not afford to reduce their risk, keep up with insurance and tax costs, and/or pay for repetitive damages. In coastal urban areas, relocation may be further complicated by the high population densities and overdeveloped urban patterns. Under such circumstances, the policy mechanisms like rolling easements or local relocation a few blocks inland may not be possible due to lack of affordable/available lots and housing. Therefore, urban relocation would likely mean a movement to greater distances like the interior suburban locations, which may result in adverse psycho-social experiences, disruption of social networks and support systems, loss of familiar lifestyle, and interruption in livelihoods. This study utilizes a comparative analysis of two case studies to evaluate the possibility of relocation from the coastal high-risk fringes in the distinct urban contexts—NY/NJ displacement and buyouts driven by a major disaster (Hurricane Sandy) and relocation risk in Norfolk metropolitan area due to chronic inundation. The assessment takes into account their contextual circumstances, including geospatial scale, level of urbanization, housing issues, land use patterns, jurisdictional complexity, geopolitical significance, and socioeconomic profile to identify the options for relocation receiving sites and the limitations that could influence the relocation outcomes. The presentation provides concise, relevant, and transferable best practices that will inform the dialogue on integrated and equitable relocation in highly urbanized areas among decision-makers, practitioners, and other coastal stakeholders.

Disaster Risk Perception in Cameroon and its Implications for the Rehabilitation of the Lake Nyos Disaster Survivors


Disaster Management Centre, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Dorset, United Kingdom.

Thirty years ago, the Lake Nyos Disaster (LND) killed 1746 people and displaced 4,430. The affected population, who were subsequently resettled in seven camps within the region, have now grown to about 12,000. This paper analyses perceptions of contemporary risks to natural hazards in Cameroon following the LND. The main inquiry is to understand how disaster survivor’s risk perception (RP) can influence post-disaster rehabilitation and/or resettlement of displaced populations. This is relevant following recent rhetorical statements from the Cameroon Government this year, about the imminent rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration of the LND survivors.

The research design employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods. 25 Interviews and 100 surveys were conducted to generate empirical data from the LND survivors. Secondary information, complemented by participant observation facilitated triangulation of the research findings to enhance validation of the analysis.

The main RP constructs under investigation were risk communication, preparation and response. The Key findings were: conspiracy theories about the cause of the LND abound in the region; the study population plan to mitigate disaster risks via scientific, cultural, religious and indigenous methods; the disaster affected populations take risk information from their elites more seriously than from other sources; the survivors plan to follow government advice on risk conditionally, unconditionally, temporarily, while some plan to disobey government instructions.

The author argues that the Cameroon government’s programme to finally rehabilitate and resettle the LND survivors back to their ancestral land, supported by the UNDP and EU entitled “National Programme for the security and socio-economic reintegration of the Lake Nyos Area Cameroon” is likely to face many challenges if it fails to incorporate the affected population’s perception of risks in the region. This paper underscores the need to mainstream disaster survivor’s RP with rehabilitation strategies and disaster risk management generally.

Making Hard Choices: An Analysis of Settlement Choices and Willingness to Return of Syrian Refugees

Mehmet BALCILAR1,2,3, Fuat OKTAY4

1Eastern Mediterranean University, Turkey; 2IPAG Business Schoo, Paris, France; 3University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; 4Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, Turkey

The current literature on forced migration offers only a limited knowledge on our understanding of the determinants migration to alternative locations and settlement choices. Conflict affected civilians face several hard choices relating to migration decision, including initial and final destination to move, decision on returning to Syria, living in refugee camp settlements or in out-camp settlements etc. This paper contributes to the literature on forced migration by studying the impact of level of armed violence and other demographic characteristics on the likelihood of in-camp and out-camp settlement choices, likelihood returning back, and likelihood moving from initial settlement location that has no security threat. The study is based on a three-wave survey conducted in 2013, 2014, 2015 with refugees residing in Turkey. The surveys are based on a stratified random sampling with a total sample size of 4433. The covariates considered in the study include level of armed violence, level damage to residential property, loss of life in family, extend of physiological impact, gender, education, income, time of initial departure from Syria, existence of any disability in the household, household size, and availability of shelter in the home country. Several logit and multinomial logit models are estimated and impact of covariates are evaluated by predictive margins and average marginal effects. The results of the study uncover a number of significant findings. First and foremost, the likelihood of returning back is high but declining as the conflict prolongs. Second, the level of damage the property and loss of life in the family as well as the availability of shelter upon return are significant determinants of likelihood of return and decision to move to another country in the west. Third, we also find that education, income, household size, are significant determinates of settlement choices.

Consequences of the Armed Conflict as a Stressor of Climate Change in Colombia


1UNIGIS Latin America, University of Salzburg, Austria; 2Press, Grupo Planeta, Colombia

The internal armed conflict in Colombia reduces the resilience of the community to face the consequences of climate phenomena such as La Niña, which occurred in Colombia, between 2010 and 2011. I selected a case study area in Colombia based on previous studies in the topic of deforestation due to illegal crops. Correlation and regression analysis are employed to demonstrate the relationship between the rates of deforestation, the number of affected households and the events of violence. The statistical analysis explores the rate of deforestation between 2002 and 2007, the number of affected households due to La Niña phenomenon in 2010-2011, and the number of events related with armed violence occurred between 2012 and 2013. A significant correlation (+0.865) exists between the number of La Niña affected households, and the number of violent events two years later. No correlation exists between the rate of deforestation, neither with the number of affected households, nor with the events of violence. Moreover, we demonstrated that the number of households affected accounts for 74.8% in the number of events related with armed violence. In conclusion, the problem is not the hazard or the intensity of the phenomenon, the real problem is the low resilience of the communities affected by La Niña that are simultaneously involved in the internal conflict of Colombia. Communities involved in forced displacement are not able to construct social capital, in order to develop capacity to anticipate, respond to, and recover from hydro-meteorological events related to climate change, or any other natural phenomena.

Dynamic factors influencing the post-disaster resettlement success: Lessons from the case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


University of Grenoble Alpes / Technical University of Darmstadt, France

The number of people displaced due to disasters in cities continues to rise, and resettlement has become a common solution in case of extreme events. Although there are various factors that are involved in success of the process, some are more dynamic and crucial than the others. This was clearly evident from the study carried out by the author in 2016 in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), one of the fastest urbanizing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Following the disastrous floods of 2011 in Dar es Salaam, the flood victims had been resettled as part of disaster recovery. The urban planning decision taken by the local government a few years prior to the floods was instrumental for resettlement possibility. However, the lack of physical and economic infrastructure coupled with disturbance to social structure resulted in grievances and perceived failure of the recovery process, along with many other new challenges that evolved, which the local government is still grappling with after four years of the process. Consequently, the paper discusses the various factors that need to be carefully considered by local governments for post-disaster resettlement and argues that it increases the chances to manage a successful resettlement process. The paper concludes with valuable lessons to learn from the case of Dar es Salaam that are relevant and transferable to other rapidly urbanizing cities with similar context.

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