The Himalaya-Tibet area lies in the collision zone between continental crust of the Indian and Eurasian plates. This area experiences acute seismicity: several recent earthquakes over Mw7.0 have occurred in the area in the past decade. Research suggests that this area is expected to experience further great earthquakes in the future. Due to their terrestrial causes and catastrophic aftermath, earthquakes are different from other natural disasters, always causing destructive damage to people lives, which commonly requires tens of years to recover and reestablish stable living circumstances.

Since earthquakes are not controllable, moving residential sites is considered as a helpful tool for evading further risks in earthquake-struck areas and as a first step to re-establish living circumstances.

This project probes the effects of residential move after strong earthquakes in the Himalaya-Tibet area: April 25, 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal and May 12, 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China. There are three main parts to my research:1) The government’s role in relocation since it is the government that implements relocation plan for the victims; 2) earthquake-induced vulnerabilities for the victims; and 3) the good and bad functions of relocation. Participant observation, focus group interviews and questionnaire survey will be employed to collect data, with SPSS, NVivo and GIS used to analyse and display the data.

Funding: UQI / UQ Centennial scholarship
Advisors: Prof Jonathan Aitchison, Prof Karen Hussey

Project members

Lulu He

Lulu HE

PhD candidate