Migrant population vulnerable to disaster-induced displacement

- POST REPORT, Lalitpur

Feb 3, 2015-

Migrant populations are the most vulnerable to natural disasters owing to lack of national and intergovernmental policies to protect them, said professionals convened at a conference organised in the Capital to address climate change, displacement and human mobility in South Asia.

None of the countries in South Asia have frameworks to deal with the migrant population (both internal and external) when disasters strike, they said during the Nansen Initiative Civil Society Meeting on ‘Climate Change, Disasters and Human Mobility in South Asia’ that concluded on Tuesday.    

“When people cross borders, protection for them in cases of disasters is non-existent. Even within countries, we have stateless people, refugees and asylum seekers who are vulnerable during disasters,” said Anoop Sukumaran, Coordinator at Asia Pacific Refugees Rights Network, a web of civil society organisations advocating for the rights of refugees.

The organisation, together with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Geneva-based Nansen Initiative, which focuses on policies on cross-border displacement induced by disasters, organised the conference to identify areas where migrant populations need state-led protection from disasters.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, in the six years between 2008 and 2013, 166 million people were displaced globally by sudden-onset disasters such as floods and earthquakes. In South Asia, the figure is 46 million.

According to ICIMOD, 10 percent of the disasters in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, where Nepal falls, are transboundary in nature and they account for 32 percent of the casualties and 60 percent of the displacement.

“But migration can be positive and we can use the remittances it provides to make the migrant population more resilient to disasters,” said Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative.


Published: 04-02-2015 09:12

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