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The Role of Infrastructure in Household Relocation Decision After Disasters: A Case Study of Relocation in Nepal After the 2015 Earthquake
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Social resilience after disasters is characterized by two key dimensions, reducing impacts and enhancing recovery. In that context, reducing the number of household that are either forced or choose to relocate due to damage to their homes or infrastructure disruption, can be considered a key resilience metric. The significance of relocation after disasters arises from two main aftereffects. First, relocation propagates in the community; as people leave their homes after a disaster, it becomes more likely that others will leave as well. Second, although relocation might start as a temporary movement, it can eventually evolve into permanent relocation. The more extensive the population dislocating and longer the duration of that relocation can jeopardize a community’s long-term recovery. Whilst some studies have addressed the long-term repercussions of relocation, few focused on understanding the household relocation decision-making process itself and the factors that influence this decision as a group. Furthermore, the impacts of infrastructure services’ attributes before and after the disaster on the relocation decision have not been well studied in the engineering research context. Empirical behavior models that examine the social impacts of infrastructure resilience are critical for proper investment in policies and measures directed to achieving infrastructure and community resilience. This study examined the impact of three infrastructure services on household relocation decision: piped water, government-provided electricity and vehicle-accessible roads. Logistic regression parsimonious models of the Yes/No relocation decision were developed using household survey data collected from Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. Different types of drivers that are expected to influence the relocation decision were used in the development of relocation models alongside with variables capturing aspects of infrastructure services. Examined drivers included demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the household and the levels of damage to homes and neighborhoods. The consequences of infrastructure services for relocation was obtained by controlling for these other factors and then assessing the ceteris paribus impact of infrastructure disruption. The analysis in this study showed that the unique water service situation in Nepal provides preliminary suggestions of the possible impacts of the pre-earthquake redundancies and the post-earthquake resourcefulness in providing sources of water in influencing the household relocation behavior. This unique water situation gave rise to a new hypothesis of the effect of piped water disruption, a hypothesis that does not necessarily conform with the general expectations in the literature. The failure and disruption in electricity, generally provided by the government, had the highest impact on the household’s odds of relocation among all the investigated factors. This could be a result of the household’s sole dependency on the government for providing electricity and the lack of backup sources of electricity in the house before the earthquake on one hand, and the unavailability of alternative sources of electricity after the earthquake on the other hand. Also, this study showed that vehicle-accessible roads had no significant impact on the Nepalese household relocation behavior, which could be attributed to the low percentage of car ownership in the community.
desire to relocate
ability to relocate
Abuhamdia, Rana Zakaria Ahmad (2018). The Role of Infrastructure in Household Relocation Decision After Disasters: A Case Study of Relocation in Nepal After the 2015 Earthquake. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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