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  • Pre-Hurricane Conferece

Displacement in Disasters


In 2020, 238,000 displacements were due to conflict issues, and 4.5 million due to disasters. Specialists define climate migration as one where climate change is a driver or contributor for a person to migrate voluntarily or involuntarily from their community. Based on this type of migration, actions must be taken based on needs and vulnerabilities: the communities most exposed and vulnerable to climate displacement must be the first priority.

Displacement is defined when people are forced to leave their home and usually occurs after a trigger or event that forces a person to leave their home or place of habitual residence, and it is more likely to occur in people or communities with less resilience.

Climate displacement is expected to increase significantly in the coming years and could have an impact on border displacement, legal rights, prolonged displacement, cyclical displacement, and host communities.

On the economic side, migration can diversify sources of income, it can increase the capacity to face threats such as emergencies, reduce poverty and even increase the capacity of host communities through remittances. On the other hand, the lack of financial resources and family or individual indebtedness can affect the reconstruction of the life of the migrant population, increasing the risks of protection at the social level. It has been shown that with a little investment in the migrant population, emergency preparations become stronger, and community networks are better prepared for emergencies.

The only situation in which international law can grant the right of entry to climate migrants occurs when environmental drivers are combined with established grounds for protection under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees by What the convention extends protections to petitioners with a well-founded fear of persecution due to their religion, nationality, political opinion, social group, individual and the petitioner must also be unable to obtain protection in the country of origin.

Although recent international processes, such as the Global Compact on Migration, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, have underscored the importance of climate-induced migration, there is no global multilateral framework against this problem and international law does not guarantee the protection of climate migrants who fall outside the scope of international refugee law, so regional and national solutions are the most appropriate and useful.

It is important to advise Red Cross teams and governments that, in the first phase of disaster preparedness, they carry out actions such as raising public awareness to prepare for the possible impact of a hurricane or other natural phenomena. The Red Cross, in coordination with government disaster management services, can help map public emergency shelters and distribute lists to the public as part of disaster response.

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