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Consequences of post-disaster policies and relocation approaches: two communities from rural China

Yong Chen (School of Public Administration, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)
Lulu He (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Queensland–Saint Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Australia)
Dan Zhou (Institute of Population Research, Sichuan University–Wangjiang Campus, Chengdu, China)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 9 June 2020

Issue publication date: 8 July 2021




Post-disaster population resettlement is a complicated process, during which the restoration of livelihood and lifestyle plays a critical role in achieving a successful resettlement outcome. This paper attempts to examine how recovery policies and relocation approaches influence people's livelihood recovery and perception of wellbeing. It specifically investigates the role of farmland in producing a livelihood and maintaining a rural lifestyle among displaced people.


Through face-to-face questionnaire surveys and in-depth interviews with rural residents displaced from their villages after the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, China, this study presents both quantitative and qualitative evidence to investigate how post-disaster policies and particularly the availability of farmland influence people's recovery and their satisfaction with the post-resettlement life.


Data suggest that availability of farmland, in spite of the size, makes big differences in post-disaster recovery because farmland provides resettled people with not only a livelihood to secure basic living but also a guarantee to maintain a rural lifestyle.

Research limitations/implications

More samples are needed for analyzing factors that significantly influence disaster-displaced farmers' recovery and wellbeing post resettlement.

Practical implications

This study can be used as an important reference for making plans for post-disaster recovery and population resettlement programs in other disaster-prone countries across the world.


Land-based relocation is proposed as a desirable approach to addressing challenges of livelihood restoration amongst the resettled population in rural areas of developing countries.



This research is partially supported by National Social Science Fund of China (Grant No 18BGL008). Two anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated for their useful comments and suggestions. We are grateful to all those villagers who participated in our field surveys and the village heads whom we interviewed in Hongguang Township in Qingchuan County and Shijingpu Township in Zhaohua District in Guangyuan Municipality.


Chen, Y., He, L. and Zhou, D. (2021), "Consequences of post-disaster policies and relocation approaches: two communities from rural China", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 340-353.



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