UNU Wider Blog: Why migrants need to be factored into responses to unexpected crises


  Date Published: 11/16/2016

No country is immune from unexpected crises, such as sudden breakouts of violence, war, or natural disasters. Even if some can be predicted, experience shows that the intensity, scale, and geographic spread of crises cannot be forecast with any kind of certainty. 

One particularly vulnerable group during such events is migrants — who, in many cases, account for a substantial portion of the affected population. During the Libyan crisis in 2011, more than 800,000 migrants fled Libya. While most were from neighbouring countries, over 120 nationalities were represented in the outflows. The triple disaster in Japan during the same year touched approximately 700,000 foreigners from a diverse set of countries — including Brazil, China, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

And, if you scan recent history, there have been many other situations in which migrants have been among those most seriously affected by crises. The 2004 tsunami in Asia. The 2006 war in Lebanon. And more recently, the crisis in Yemen. To name only a few.

Read on.