Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 807–821 | Cite as

The Efficacy of a Programme of Landslide Risk Reduction in Areas of Unplanned Housing in the Eastern Caribbean

  • Malcolm G. AndersonEmail author
  • Elizabeth Holcombe
  • Maricarmen Esquivel
  • Joaquin Toro
  • Francis Ghesquiere


Poor countries are disproportionately affected by the cost of disasters. Yet there is evidence of the benefits of seeking to mitigate the impact of a disaster, compared with the costs incurred in ‘making good’ after a major event has occurred. This article reviews a programme of landslide risk reduction in unplanned communities in the Eastern Caribbean. The construction of appropriate surface water management measures, based on the application of scientific and engineering principles, has been demonstrated to reduce the hazard from rainfall-triggered landslides. Adopting a community-based approach additionally delivers social and environmental benefits relating to employment generation, improvements in the environmental conditions within the community, and improvements slope management practices. The sustained implementation of the community-based projects has provided the necessary evidence-base for these practices to influence Government policy and practice, and gain recognition from regional development agencies. The strategic and incremental uptake of the community-based methodology is demonstrated to be an effective means for delivering physical landslide risk reduction measures in the most ‘at risk’ areas of unplanned housing.


Landslides Unplanned housing Disaster risk reduction Slope management Developing countries 



This work was supported by the SetSquared Partnership, UK; Governments of St Lucia and Dominica; and USAID. The authors acknowledge the assistance of the World Bank in providing editorial commentary on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm G. Anderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Holcombe
    • 1
  • Maricarmen Esquivel
    • 2
  • Joaquin Toro
    • 2
  • Francis Ghesquiere
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Geographical SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Sustainable Development Unit, Latin America and the CaribbeanWorld BankWashingtonUSA

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