Disaster, Displacement and Relocation: An analysis of the needs and policy implications on a displaced community in Sri Lanka

Nishara Fernando, Anuradha Senanayake, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Chamindi Malalgoda, Chathuranganee Jayakody

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Disaster induced displacement and relocation is one of the frequently occurring
phenomenon in the Sri Lankan context. Resettlement has been recognized as a regular result of disasters such as landslides due to the large scale property damage they occur. This paper investigates the relationship between the disaster-induced relocation process and the policy frameworks the said relocation process is executed upon. The study revolves around the sub objectives of investigating the various needs of victims in different stages of displacements and how relocation have altered the social, cultural and livelihood dimension of the said needs of the victims. Aranayake landslide victims, residing the Kegalle district who have been resettled mainly in a Donor Driven relocating site were selected for the study. A mixed sampling technique was implemented in two phases. As the first phase, in-depth interviews with the officials and focus
group interviews with community members were carried out through purposive sampling. Next, a community need analysis was conducted with the participation of both community and the officials. The study successfully employs the Sustainable livelihood framework (1999), Bohle‟s conceptual model on double structure of vulnerability (2001), and Scudder‟s stress and settlement process
(2005). The data suggests that there is a clear lacuna in the written policy frameworks and its practical implementation in satisfying the various needs of the displaced communities. Restricting only understanding the social and economic details of the various displaced groups, policy planners have tended to neglect the necessity in conducting a needs analysis. The main reason being that; the lack of perceiving relocation to be a long term process. The data further suggests that the satisfaction of a relocation process is based on the needs of the displaced which can be pointed out as physical, social, economic and psychological. Out of the said needs, the respondents tend to prioritize the needs related to the built environment which is more of the physical needs. The
respondents seem to be dissatisfied with the housing unit as a while, its structure, facilities and the materials being used to build the house. On the other hand, the concerns were also raised with regard to the infrastructural facilities such as the neighbourhood facilities and roads. Therefore, in conclusion, the study suggests a model which addresses the need for a holistic institutional
arrangement with further disaster risk management strategies to address the adverse impact on the disaster-induced displaced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management (ICSECM)
PublisherUniversity of Peradeniya
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9789555892735
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2020
Event10th International conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management: Special Session on Disaster Risk Reduction - Earl's Regency Hotel, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Duration: 12 Dec 201914 Dec 2019
Conference number: 10
http://www.icsecm.org/2019/ (Conference Website)


Conference10th International conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management
Abbreviated titleICSECM2019
Country/TerritorySri Lanka
Internet address


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