Current Relocation Practices Targeting Disaster Prone Communities in Developing Countries: Case Study San Francisco Libre, Nicaragua
Judith Cuadra*1, Janet Dilling*2, Ralph Brower*3, and Malaika Samples*4
*1Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2250, USA
*2Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program, Florida State University, Florida, USA
*3Askew School of Public Administration, Florida State University, Florida, USA
*4College of Education, Florida State University, Florida, USA
Multiple studies suggest that disaster risk in developing countries is exacerbated by a combination of conditions such as a lack of affordable housing, hazardous location, human vulnerability, government mismanagement and unfavorable political agendas (Quarantelli, 2003; Jha et al., 2010, Viratkapan & Perera, 2006; Horwood & Phillips, 2007; Davidson et al., 2007; Cronin & Gunthrie, 2011; Satterthwaite, 2011). Although this is not a new issue, governments and urban planners continue to struggle to find solutions for safe, adequate and affordable housing for the urban poor. Urban projects and legislation often unintentionally aggravate the situation in these communities (Sanderson, 2000). The pressure to solve the “low-income settler problem” becomes even more poignant in the face of disasters and other occurrences resulting in multiple fatalities. A well-known approach to low-income communities in high-risk areas is to relocate them either before or after a disaster event. According to Jha et al. (2010) relocation remains one of the most common project endeavors in post-disaster recovery. In San Francisco Libre, a community near Lake Managua in Nicaragua, for example, the local government has undertaken a massive relocation project since 2011 floods that left several coastal families homeless. In this study, we describe the current conditions and challenges for relocated families and discuss efforts by local government officials to provide much needed services on reduced budgets. This research benefits from field observations and interviews with government officials and families from affected communities. Horwood and Phillips (2007) observed that in developing countries such as Nicaragua, relocation projects fail due to the rigid inadequate design of relocation housing and a lack appropriate land and services. Knowledge on relocation practices and outcomes could better inform current practices and improve project development to where it actually provides for low-income families in developing countries.
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