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Patterns of government disaster policy response in Peru

Our study introduces a new quantitative dataset of government disaster responses for 183 disasters in Peru from 1900 to 2020. We examine disaster responses in the form of relocation of affected individuals, restrictions on movement, reconstruction of damaged areas, and regulations of third-party disaster relief. Prior analyses of large earthquakes and El Niño events in Peru reveal that government response to hazards shapes the outcomes for social, conflict, and economic outcomes. Our dataset contributes quantitative coding of a much larger sample of disasters to identify useful patterns in disaster response. We show that the Peruvian government is the most active actor in disaster response, although international organizations and non-governmental organizations are active in nearly a third of all disasters. Restrictions and relocation of affected populations occur, but this tends to be temporary, rather than long-term solutions to mitigate risks from future disasters. Relocation of affected people occurs more often for floods and landslides, while regulation of third-party activities occurs more frequently with floods and extreme temperature events; other disaster response policies do not vary across disaster types. Disaster responses have also shifted over time, with the government providing more funds for post-disaster reconstruction and coordinating with outside aid groups more actively in recent decades. The results demonstrate the feasibility and importance of tracking patterns of response across hazard events to fully understand the role of government in disaster response. Our larger data collection project will provide similar data for all countries over time, which will help us situate Peru’s patterns of disaster response in the larger disaster management landscape and understand how government policy choices influence political violence, migration, and other political dynamics.