Flooding, resettlement, and change in livelihoods: Evidence from rural Mozambique

Alex Arnall, David S.G. Thomas, Chasca Twyman, Diana Liverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Post-disaster development policies, such as resettlement, can have major impacts on communities. This paper examines how and why people's livelihoods change as a result of resettlement, and relocated people's views of such changes, in the context of natural disasters. It presents two historically-grounded, comparative case studies of post-flood resettlement in rural Mozambique. The studies demonstrate a movement away from rain-fed subsistence agriculture towards commercial agriculture and non-agricultural activities. The ability to secure a viable livelihood was a key determinant of whether resettlers remained in their new locations or returned to the river valleys despite the risks posed by floods. The findings suggest that more research is required to understand i) why resettlers choose to stay in or abandon designated resettlement areas, ii) what is meant by 'voluntary' and 'involuntary' resettlement in the realm of post-disaster reconstruction, and iii) the policy drivers of resettlement in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-488
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Floods
  • Livelihoods
  • Mozambique
  • Resettlement
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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