South Fly Village Relocation

Rhys Thomson, William Back, Ian Middleton, Harriet Tokam, Luke Evans, Dominic Hammersley

Friday 3 july 2015

14:15 - 14:30h at Europe 2 (level 0)

Themes: (T) Extreme events, natural variability and climate change, (ST) Flood resilient cities and infrastructures

Parallel session: 16I. Extreme events - Resilient

With a length of 1,050 kilometres, the Fly River is the second largest river in Papua New Guinea and is the largest river system on Earth without a single dam in its catchment (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2013). The Fly River Delta spans more than 90 kilometres at the mouth and supports a population of over 62,000 people (OTDF, 2013). The Fly River Delta population is dispersed between villages of a handful to several thousand people. The majority of these villages are susceptible to riverine flooding or coastal processes such as storm tide inundation and foreshore erosion, which is further exacerbated by climate change. In response to these issues, the Ok Tedi Development Foundation investigated the feasibility of undertaking a village relocation program, with a particular focus on villages most at risk of the impacts of climate change. This study focused on 26 of the villages within the River Delta. The project included three key aspects: • to determine those villages in the South Fly Region that are “most impacted” by coastal and riverine flood processes. This included a multi-criteria analysis that considered (a) the potential impact on the villages including infrastructure and social impacts; and (b) the willingness of village’s to be relocated. • to identify “pilot villages” amongst those “most impacted” by coastal and flooding processes for the purposes of relocation (in the short-term); and • to prepare costed action plans for the relocation of identified “pilot villages” in addition to supporting strategies / actions for South Fly Region village relocation generally. This involved a review of the existing infrastructure, as well as the social and economic activities, as well as identification of concept level works for relocation, followed by an economic cost benefit analysis. The feasibility assessment identified that relocation was possible for the two pilot villages that were identified. The feasibility assessment provided a framework for the future expansion of the assessment to other villages in the South Fly River.