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22 September 2016

A woman sells produce at a flooded market place in Port-au-Prince after hurricane Sandy ravaged the west of Haiti. Photo: Logan Abassi / UN.

Disasters Are Fuelling Displacement And Migration

United Nations - Globally, more than 60 million people are displaced by conflict, violence, disasters and human rights violations.  This is the highest level of forced displacement since World War II, write UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Robert Glasser and IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in the Huffington Post.

The principle focus of this week’s UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants was on the suffering endured by those who are forced from their homes by conflict. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that there is a growing problem of displacement which is not conflict related but driven by natural hazards.

Last year 19.2 million were displaced by natural hazards in 113 countries. The majority of this displacement was caused by extreme weather events due to a record number of droughts, widespread flooding and 90 major tropical storms. Much of this was fuelled by a very strong El Niño occurring in the context of climate change which threatens a further 75 million people who live just one metre above sea level.

Displacement is often an indication of the breakdown of normal coping strategies when resilience is undermined by a severe disaster event. Almost three million people remain in temporary accommodation in Nepal, over a year after an earthquake which killed more than 8,000 people in a country which is still recovering from long years of conflict.

People are on the move across southern Africa as a result of a prolonged agricultural drought in a region where the resources for conserving water, and thereby reducing disaster risk, are very limited.

Read on 


In Sariakandi, on the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh, regular flooding and land erosion is driving families from their homes. File photo: Abir Abdullah/ IOM.

Climate Refugees, Lacking Protections, Can’t Even Live Like Refugees

United Nations - At the UN General Assembly’s first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants this week, world leaders are working towards a resolution to the growing refugee crisis, writes Ari Phillips in Fusion.

According to the UN, an “unprecedented series of simultaneous, complex and protracted crises and humanitarian emergencies” has created the perfect storm, leaving the international community facing a daunting migrant crisis that shows no sign of relenting.

As of 2015, there were 65 million forcibly displaced persons in the world, including over 21 million refugees, three million asylum-seekers, and over 40 million internally displaced persons.

These statistics include an unknown number of climate refugees, driven to relocate due to natural disasters and other adverse impacts of global warming. To date, climate refugees are not officially protected under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The solution is not necessarily as simple as just amending the Convention, which was adopted before human-driven climate change became its own global crisis, and entered the global consciousness.

“With the international community unable to address the current flux of refugees and migrants, it is extremely important for world leaders who are attending the UN Summit to draw the link between climate change and forced migration,” said Alice Thomas, Climate Displacement Program Manager for Refugees International.

Read on

Migration in the News
  • BBC reported the air attack on a UN humanitarian convoy and an Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse near Aleppo. The  convoy comprised 31 lorries loaded with non-food aid, clothes and baby food supplied by WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM.
  • AP, Reuters, CNN and International Business Times reported that a boat carrying African migrants heading to Europe capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Egypt, killing at least 43 people.
  • News Deeply interviewed IOM Director General William Lacy Swing about the migration crisis, IOM’s entry to the UN and why it matters for the organization to have a seat at the table.
  • EU External Action Service reported EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s comments at Roundtable 5 on the Global Compact at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants.
  • Euractiv reported that the EU has signed a EUR1 million contract with IOM to provide equipment and training to the Serbian authorities to control migration across their borders.
  • Indonesia’s Berita Satu reported a meeting between Indonesian Minister of Labour Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri and IOM to discuss the protection of migrant workers under the Colombo Process and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue.

Trending on the Internet

  • Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed by financier George Soros outlining his plan to invest USD 500 million in startups, established companies, social-impact initiatives and businesses founded by migrants and refugees.

  • Oxford University’s International Migration Institute reported the launch of a new research report in partnership with  ICMPD on migrants in countries in crisis.

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