Voluntary relocation as an adaptation strategy to extreme weather events

King, David, Bird, Deanne , Haynes, Katherine, Boon, Helen, Cottrell, Alison, Millar, Joanne, Okada, Tetsuya, Box, Pamela, Keough, Diane, and Thomas, Melanie (2014) Voluntary relocation as an adaptation strategy to extreme weather events. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 8. pp. 83-90.

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Abstract

Migration out of hazard-prone areas presents significant opportunities for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Alongside and intermingled with opportunistic migration there has always been relocation to escape, particularly from calamity, disaster and warfare. As climate change is considered a likely driver of migration, the literature encompasses a debate as to whether or not migration can be considered to be adaptation. This paper investigates the concept of voluntary within-country migration as an adaptation strategy to reduce disaster risk in Australia. We refer to this internal migration as relocation. The paper examines results of research carried out in Australia at the time of recent and extensive disasters, where opportunities were presented to examine household attitudes towards relocation in the face of future disasters of similar extent. Individuals' attitudes towards relocation were ascertained within an adaptation and mitigation context, at a time of emerging longer-term climate change government policy that advocates retreat from hazard-prone locations. The paper examines demographic data to reveal who is likely to leave or stay. Policy implications of relocation strategies as climate change adaptation strategy within a developed nation are discussed. This research concludes that relocation is a strategy available to some as part of an extensive range of responses to extreme weather events but undertaking unsupported resettlement is not always an option for reasons of family commitment, livelihood opportunities, financial constraints and emotional ties. Those who remain, and those who leave a hazard-prone location may both demonstrate a capacity for adaptation and resilience.

Item ID: 34924
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2214-4209
Keywords: climate change adaptation, migration, relocation, natural disasters, Australia, flood, cyclone
Funders: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 01:16
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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