Voluntary relocation as an adaptation strategy to extreme weather events

King, David and Bird, Deanne and Haynes, Katharine and Boon, Helen and Cottrell, Alison and Millar, Joanne and Okada, Tetsuya and Box, Pamela and Keogh, 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. ISSN 2212-4209


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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2014 02:51
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 04:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change adaptation; migration; relocation; natural disasters; Australia; flood; cyclone
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160303 Migration
04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards
16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160499 Human Geography not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961099 Natural Hazards not elsewhere classified
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.02.006
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25208

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