After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, major resettlement programmes were implemented in the affected countries including Sri Lanka and India. New settlements were built from scratch on vacant land, which consisted of building new houses and provision of infrastructure and services. Some of these programmes in Sri Lanka and India were reviewed in an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research and this paper presents and analyses some of the findings of the research. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The research is based on interviews of residents and representatives of agencies involved in planning and implementing the resettlement programmes, and on-site observations. The investigation examined critical aspects of settlement development including site planning, transport, drainage, water supply, sanitation, waste management and security.
Very little site planning guidelines were available specifically for resettlement programmes; in both the case study countries, general planning guidelines were applied. Provision and management of infrastructure and services presents great challenges in developing countries as high capital investment and good technical skills for design, implementation and maintenance are required. Some of the resettlement schemes had the advantage of being centrally located and hence had access to schools, health centres and other facilities. However, others were in isolated locations and beneficiaries faced problems in accessing basic facilities. Drainage was a problem – most schemes did not have any surface drainage plan; low areas had not been elevated, slopes not levelled, and land not compacted before construction. Electricity and water supply had been provided in all the programmes, but conditions and quality varied. In many of the schemes, sanitation presented a problem. However, in Chennai, the sewage system worked well and this was one achievement all interview respondents praised. Solid waste management and security posed additional problems.
In the global context of increasing frequency and intensity of disasters due to climate change, adequate planning and implementation of reconstruction and resettlement programmes has become more important than ever. In this regard, the lessons gained in this paper should be of value and can provide guidance to post-disaster resettlement programmes in developing countries.
Emergency Management Network of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network (NCCARF) for funding to attend the “Building Resilience” Conference, Sri Lanka, 2011 where the findings of this paper were presented.
Ahmed, I. and McEvoy, D. (2014), "Post-tsunami resettlement in Sri Lanka and India: site planning, infrastructure and services", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 53-65. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-08-2012-0028Download as .RIS
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