Explanation of resettlement in sustainable rural development (Case study: resettlement in flooded villages in Golestan province)

Document Type : Research Paper



Resettlement is a process that helps people to mitigate the effects of displacement on their standard of living. A sustainable development approach uses resettlement as an opportunity to improve living standards of displaced people and ensure they benefit from the development activity. Studies show that resettlement can result in adverse impacts on the resettled population. Conversely, a well-planned and managed resettlement process can lead to positive long-term development outcomes. Studies on post disaster resettlement (PDR) in rural areas of Iran revealed that these actions do not respond to all the needs of residents. Occurring extreme rainfalls, in August 2005 in Eastern part of the Golestan province in North of Iran, caused two devastating flood disasters and damaged several villages. After a considerable long discussions, planners and policy makers decided to relocate a significant number of villages incorporating them in larger area. Finally in this area 11 villages were replaced and integrated in one place but 3 villages were replaced without integration. In this Study we want to explore the social, economical and physical impacts of resettlement in villages before and after the Golestan Floods. With this study, in order to answer these questions that:
- Is there a significant difference between resettlement patterns to access a sustainable development?
- What are the social, economical and physical consequences of a disaster resettlement event?
Study area:
The study area is located in the north east of Iran in Golestan province and lies between (37°, 42´) to (37°, 22´) E longitude and (55°, 54´) to (55°, 20´) N latitude. It has mild temperature with annual rainfall of approximately 450 mm. Farming and livestock were among the most important local economic activities of the households in the study area before the flood.
After the flood 11 villages (Ghezelotagh, Aghtoghe, chatal, Khojelar, Koorok, Pashaei, Ghapane‌olia, Ghapane‌sofla, Seidlar, Sheikhlar and Davaji) were replaced and integrated in one place called Pishkamar town. 3 villages (Gholaghkasan, Boghghojebala and Boghghojepaein) were only replaced in safer area (with 1-2 Km).
Materials and methods:
In this research, in order to investigate the post disaster resettlement (PDR) program conducted the villages in Golestan province and find out negative and positive aspects of the post disaster resettlement (PDR) programs we used subjective indicators and satisfaction levels in three aspects and 18 domains. Research method was descriptive and analytic.
For comparing effects of the post disaster resettlement (PDR) patterns, at first step 80 indices were selected based on related literature and their content analysis, and then these were assessed by 30 academic members and rural experts through Delphi method based on 2 criteria in two stages and finally 67 indices were accepted. In this study 31 indicators have been used to assess social sustainability, 21 indicators to assess economic sustainability and 15 indicators to assess environmental sustainability; all suitable for structure of Iranian villages and environment friendly.
279 samples were randomly chosen from the residents of Pishkamar and 3 villages. Data collection tool was a researcher-designed questionnaire that was produced according to research objectives. The questionnaire was made of closed questions with answers in five-point Likert scale (1: grown much worse to 5: grown much better). In order to evaluate internal validity, at first the method of content validity was used to increase the validity of the questionnaire. In this method, the first step was testing the scales in the studies of post disaster sustainable development and poll of professors and professionals. Then, the developed questionnaire was filled out in two preliminary and final stages. Examining the answers to 30 questionnaires and doing statistical calculations, was the final steps. Chronbach alpha was used to evaluate the reliability and for comparisons between the two groups were made using Independent sample T Test.

Result and discussion:
This showed that either of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. The economic aspect of the resettlement was evaluated based on four parameters including production, employment, economic diversification and income. Observed mean of the integration and relocation pattern were 2.78 and 2.81, respectively. Result shows, there are significant difference between the two groups at production, employment, economic diversification and income. This reveals that from economic point of view the relocation was not successful.
On the other hand, from social-cultural perspective ten studied parameters show that the resettlement has positive performance as mean of social aspect for integration and relocation pattern were 3.16 and 3.20, respectively. Result shows, there are significant difference between the two groups at social participation, education, health, social welfare, safety and organization.
Although, results prove improvements in term of environmental aspect for both types of patterns. Observed mean of the integration and relocation pattern were 3.33 and 3.50, respectively. Result shows, there are significant difference between the two groups at quality of environment , safety and information and communications.
Sustainable development approach depends on sustainability of economy, social and environmental aspects. This study shows that both relocation patterns are not sustainable in term of economy. This means that, the studied societies have not the sustainable development yet and it requires improvement in economic indexes.
Post disaster reconstruction created significant opportunities for improving urban facilities such as libraries, broad streets, sport complexes, health clinics in Pishkamar and 3 villages. In general, the results of the study indicate that the resettlement of villages after disaster led to significant improvement in the social and environmental aspects in study area. The resettlement policy were successful in reducing the flood disaster risk and also improved QoL (by relocating villagers), but it was not successful in economical aspects. To reduce the negative economic impacts of resettlement, several measurement must be implemented, including: strengthening production capacity and skills (through training and technology transfer); diversification of economic activities (through the establishment of new economic activities) and increasing financial support for the most vulnerable communities.


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