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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of resettlement on community recovery : an analysis of post-tsunami Aceh, Indonesia Panjwani, Dilnoor


In a context of constrained time, resources and geographical space, populations displaced by natural disaster often face diverse and/or ad hoc resettlement schemes. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand factors that can influence successful resettlement several years after a natural disaster so that it may better inform the management and planning of recovery processes. As such, this research asks: ‘How do resettlement patterns influence long-term holistic community disaster recovery?’ To address this question, this study explores recovery across five communities affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia. Using a mixed methods comparative case study design, villages in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar that represent differences in resettlement process and pattern were targeted. Findings are based on fieldwork across these communities – Bitai, Gampong Baro, Lampulo, Neheun Compound and Panteriek Compound – six years after the disaster. Data collection included key informant interviews (i.e., village chief, elders, etc.), key expert interviews (i.e., members of government, NGOs, and academia), focus group discussions (i.e., villagers), direct observations, and secondary data. In the absence of a generally accepted method to measure community disaster recovery, a survey tool was implemented to assess holistic wellbeing outcomes. This tool is developed by operationalizing a capabilities-based approach through a series of steps that lead to a multi- dimensional recovery index. Results show that differences in overall recovery across the villages are not explained by either resettlement process (participation versus non participation) or pattern (resettlement in previous location versus in new location). Further qualitative data analysis displays that resettlement success in the five cases is influenced by (1) location, which shapes livelihood, connectivity and safety, and (2) built environment, which shapes sociability, identity and belonging. Comparisons across cases highlight that these influences impact recovery through a number of mechanisms of importance, such as access to governance structures, availability of gathering places, and social norms and behaviours. The analysis also describes how mechanisms are mediated by leadership, proximity and community composition. The findings support a broader understanding of post-disaster processes, including an emphasis on intangible dimensions and a need to approach resettlement using a lens of ‘place’.

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