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International Recovery Platform

Recovery postponed: Protracted disaster displacement

This document discusses how almost six years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, despite the overall good recovery progress, some areas have lagged behind and 134,000 evacuees continue to live in displacement. Prolonged and protracted displacement has had profound and disproportionate impacts on the more vulnerable members of society, particularly older people. This case study shows that obstacles and delays to durable solutions can be great, even where national capacity and resources are relatively very high. Lessons learned are likely to have relevance across diverse disaster contexts worldwide. The study highlights the importance of: • Clear, comparable and accessible displacement data and analysis to inform policy responses within and beyond disaster-affected areas. • “Soft” protection measures that boost mental, physical and socio-economic resilience during displacement complement “hard” investments in infrastructure and reconstruction. • Early prioritisation of needs of vulnerable people such as older people. • Ensuring internally displaced people are engaged from the beginning in identifying and developing solutions to their displacement. • Evacuees, the media, NGOs, independent researchers and local authorities are continuing to call attention to the on-going displacement situation and the overriding responsibility of government to prioritise public safety over other interests.

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