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Symposium on Population Migration and Repatriation Following Major Disasters

Sponsored by

Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership,

Kansai University, & USC Bedrosian Center

November 15, 2018

Recent disasters around the world have led to large population movements. Foremost among these have been Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident in Japan, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.  These events have led and continue to lead to the displacement of individuals, families, and communities for lengthy periods of time, and generate pain, suffering and economic hardships.  The inflow of disaster migrants also places burdens on receiving communities, which do not always have the capacity to receive refugees.  As disasters become more frequent, it is critical to understand how disaster migration decisions are made and how both home and resettlement communities can best respond to the population flows.

This Symposium focuses on how and where disaster refugees choose to migrate.  The key consideration is whether the migrants are better off in their new location or whether they would be better off returning home.  Important aspects of this decision will be the presence of obstacles and inducements to move or stay.

The Symposium brings together practitioners and academic experts in fields of economics, sociology, planning, safety science, risk analysis and emergency management to exchange their knowledge and experience on the topic.  The intent is to encourage interaction with the audience in order to highlight the international lessons learned from the Fukushima and Katrina experiences to better prepare for and react to future disasters.

At the core of the Symposium will be research sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Kansai University on post-disaster migration and repatriation.  The study helps frame the dialogue in terms of an analysis of factors influencing post-disaster migration and repatriation decisions.  It also addresses the design and implementation of policies to deal with difficult issues of population resettlement.  The mayor of Nahara, Japan will provide a political perspective on the challenges in managing large-scale migration in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.

While every region is at risk from some type of natural disaster, the institutions that impact disaster losses and recovery vary across the world.  The Symposium will provide a global perspective and highlight the similarities and differences in post-disaster migration experiences in the two largest recent disasters in the industrialized world.  By highlighting these commonalities, we provide a generalized framework for assessing post-disaster migration decisions. This framework will assist in effective pre-disaster planning operations (e.g., selection of disaster-prone areas to target for government buyouts), inform post-disaster population recovery mechanisms (e.g. indications of cultural and community characteristics that should be targeted for preservation), and provide policy-makers the ability to conduct cost-benefit analyses of post-disaster population recovery initiatives.


Welcoming Remarks

Adam Rose (USC)
Aubrey Hicks (USC Bedrosian Center, Executive Director)
Munehiro Yoshida (Kansai University, Vice President)

Session I: Cross-Disciplinary Insights from Alternative Perspectives

Chair: Adam Rose (USC)
Lori Peek (University of Colorado)
Shoji Tsuchida (Kansai University)
Brigitte Waldorf (Purdue University)

Session II: Economic Analysis of Katrina and Fukushima

Chair: Michio Naoi (Keio University)
Jonathan Eyer (USC)
Shingo Nagamatsu (Kansai University) and Adam Rose (USC)
Kenji Koshiyama (Kansai University)

Session III: Dealing with Population Displacement in Practice

Chair: Shingo Nagamatsu (Kansai University)
Yukiei Matsumoto (Naraha Town, Mayor)
Ryan Alaniz (Cal State San Luis Obispo)
Roberto Suro (USC)


Symposium Wrap

Lori Peek, Shingo Nagamatsu, Jonathan Eyer



Bedrosian Center