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Migration, Development and Natural Disasters

Insights from the Indian Ocean Tsunami

image of Migration, Development and Natural Disasters

According to the present report, the recent Asian tsunami highlights the need to take migrant communities, both regular and irregular, into account when planning for natural disasters in order to ensure they are treated in accordance with the core principles of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The report concludes that a number of measures need to be taken to ensure that migrants are fairly treated in the aftermath of a disaster, including the setting up of systems to monitor their immediate, medium and long-term well-being.

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Migratory movements following natural disasters

Migratory movements out of areas affected by natural disasters might be expected, given the damage to the local environment. However, the overall picture from the Tsunami was, that while affected individuals and families remained internally displaced for a long time, only some actually migrated out of the area for economic reasons. There were also signs of migration into affected areas as relatives and aid agencies moved in to provide support, or migrant workers arrived in search of work in reconstruction. There was heightened awareness of the risks of trafficking post- Tsunami, but little indication that this threat ever materialized, perhaps due to swift action by governments and agencies to put prevention measures in place.

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