Gender-wise Rural-to-Urban Migration in Orissa, India: An Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change

Nirmala Velan & Ranjan Kumar Mohanty
Inequality and Climate Change
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Migration caused by human action or natural hazards, or cyclical environmental
factors, results in temporary or permanent dislocations of people. These
displacements are caused by sudden events like flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes,
hurricanes, cyclones, forest/bush fires, Tsunamis, industrial accidents or chemical
leakages. These hazards affect both the livelihood and ecosystem of the area.
An environmental hazard or adverse climatic change that results in immediate
displacement or migration of people immediately after its occurrence is known as
environmental emergency migration, as in the case of Tsunami, hurricane, flood,
etc. Environmental migration is viewed as an adaptation strategy of households
to either diversify or improve livelihood under constant threat of environmental
change (UNDP 2009). From 2007, the IOM (2007) defines ‘environmental
migrants’ as ‘persons who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive
changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions,
are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or
permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad’. It identifies
three types of environmental migrants, namely, (i) Environmental emergency
migrants; (ii) Environmentally motivated migrants; and (iii) Environmentally
forced migrants. However, they are more commonly called as ‘environmental