IOM, the UN Migration Agency, organized and facilitated a 2 hours hard talk on protection issues in natural disasters during the Protection Conference and annual retreat of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) late May in Bangkok, Thailand. The event brought together field practitioners with pertinent expertise from key organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) and IOM. Discussions addressed the key issues of integrating and mainstreaming protection in disaster preparedness and response activities. The audience was made up of representatives of UN agencies, donors and civil society, including international non-governmental organizations, mainly focusing on protection in conflict settings. Therefore, the attention paid to disaster displacement in this session was positively welcomed by the participants.
IDMC put disaster induced displacement into perspective and presented the estimates of their latest report. Indeed, out of the 30,6 million persons newly displaced in 2017, 61% were displaced by disasters, compared to 39% displaced by conflict. The former represents 18,8 million persons in 135 countries, displaced by weather-related causes such as droughts, wildfires and landslides, but mainly by floods and storms that displaced, respectively, 8,6 million and 7,5 million people. The remaining people were displaced by earthquakes (589’000 people) and volcanic eruptions (169’000 people).
Introductions were made to the initiatives, policy and normative framework of disaster induced displacement. Further discussions focused on the importance and challenges encountered in the field when integrating, or failing to integrate, the protection component in disaster preparedness and response activities. A specific focus was given to the Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR) and its relevance with regards to protracted displacement and returns. Good practices were also discussed, notably in the area of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) preparedness and prevention with, amongst other examples, the integration of early warning indicators into IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) activities in Burundi.