How do Relocation Decisions and Implementation Impact Risk Outcomes? Raising Questions After Learning from India

Garima Jain | 2021

India has experienced many disasters, both climatic and non-climatic, but it was only after the 1999 super cyclone, 2001 Latur earthquake and 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that the National Disaster Management Act was passed in 2005 and institutional action began to be taken for longterm disaster risk reduction.1 Before the 1990s, efforts were limited to relief and response, with some exceptions involving investments in early warning systems, but once the State Disaster Management Authorities were set up (first in Odisha in 1999 and then Gujarat in 2001), systematic action was initiated for mitigation and preparedness in certain states. Large investments began to be made to improve early warning systems for hydro meteorological hazards. Many international development lenders such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank also increased investments in India, with a view to strengthening disaster risk management and building resilience (Jain 2016b, 37). Affected states learned from their past experiences of disasters that providing early warning and investing in evacuation response systems greatly reduced the numbers of lives lost. However, what remained a challenge was when people returned to their broken homes and disrupted livelihoods. Thus, many states – such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh – began investing in rehabilitation2 projects by helping people rebuild their houses post-disaster, How do relocation decisions and implementation impact risk outcomes? 51 with the objective that future events would have the least possible impact on their lives.