Patterns of Relocation and Livelihood Change of Aboriginal and Han Chinese Communities after Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jing-Chein LU, Central Police University, Taiwan
Chuan-Chung DENG, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, Taiwan, Taiwan
To avoid the reproduction of the future disaster, the strategy of relocation is commonly adopted for impacted community. However, hasty post-disaster relocation may cause critical livelihood problems, especially for an ecosystem-dependent community. Compared with individual household relocation, community relocation needs enormous resources and has complex decision processes, therefore, institutions such as governments and/or NGOs usually play important roles. The majority of research literatures related to relocation focus on cases in developing countries. In order to broaden the theoretical and practical understanding of relocation, livelihood change, and institution-driven recovery, more research on cases in developed countries is needed.

Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan in 2009, leaving over six thousand dwellings damaged or under unsafe condition. The majority of the impacted residents were aboriginal people with ecosystem-dependent livelihoods, and 28% of the impacted residents are Han Chinese, the ethnic majority in Taiwan. In order to speed up overall housing recovery, institution-driven approach was adopted. Governments collaborated with NGOs to provide four thousand “free permanent housing” units in 33 relocation sites. Six years later, some communities have rebuilt their livelihood and cultural identity successfully, but some are still struggling for their lives.

This study uses in-depth interview and focus group to collect data of livelihood change from six “free permanent housing” relocation communities with different ethnicity and physical environment characteristics. In addition, 6-year panel data are also employed in examining the gross livelihood change. This study mainly identifies and interprets livelihood recovery patterns at community level of the study cases, but also briefly narrates the difference of cultural impacts among aboriginal- and Han Chinese-majority communities. The findings of this study can provide insights for improving post-disaster relocation and livelihood programs to promote resilient community.