Living in Limbo: Conflict-Induced Displacement in Europe and Central Asia

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In , 22 million people were displaced by disasters, 85 percent of them in developing countries. Shortly after Haiyan, the islands were hit by two more typhoons and a tropical storm, affecting a total of 8.

Environmental risks constitute a continuous threat for a country like the Philippines because of its geography. Natural risks are exacerbated by climate change. The climate has already shifted unfavorably in the region and is projected to continue to do so: Intensity, frequency, duration, and impact of natural disasters are expected to increase, posing substantial risks for vulnerable countries like the Philippines.

Forced Migration Online

With millions of people in limbo, individual vulnerabilities, human rights violations, conflict, poverty, and inequality increase. Poverty and inequality make disaster preparedness and resilience difficult, often exacerbating humanitarian crises. With inadequate resources and few opportunities to build resilience through durable construction, sufficient savings, and diversified income activities, for example , poor communities tend to suffer most from disasters.

In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan made clear that those who suffer most from this vicious circle are those already living in insecure circumstances. Solutions need to be multi-dimensional, addressing both the increasing climate related threats and mitigating the underlying reasons why so many people are at risk.

Disaster-induced Displacement and Development

Disaster risk reduction, resilience building, climate change adaptation, and transformation need to be combined with strong social protection mechanisms and robust local capacities, enhanced and managed through effective institutions. Sustainable resilience rebuilding must be based on a pro-poor and pro-inclusion agenda. More resilience can only be built through broader access to opportunities that ensure increased and more equally spread income for the most vulnerable shares of the population. With rising climate-related threats and a high exposure to its risks due to poverty and inequality, the development challenges for many regions in the world are considerable.

Living in limbo: Conflict-induced displacement in Europe and Central Asia

The devastation caused by more frequent and more intensive disasters is enormous and pushes people further into poverty, lowering their capacity to deal with future crises. Effective strategies to halt this downward spiral are needed, tackling the underlying vulnerabilities while investing in disaster risk reduction, resilience building, climate change adaptation, and climate transformation. The sub-standard living conditions in collective centres inevitably have serious health repercussions. A UNICEF study found that harmful health effects among IDP children living in the collective centres in Georgia included a high level of acute gastrointestinal diseases, scoliosis and neuroses.

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Attention to collective centres is also relevant for the Early Recovery Cluster, which aims to restore services, livelihoods and governance capacity. Collective centres located in pre-existing buildings had prior uses; freeing up these buildings to regain their original use can be critical to improving access to education and public services, stimulating economic development and livelihood opportunities and providing basic government infrastructure.

At the same time, pressures to restore collective centres to their original use, especially when buildings are of commercial interest, heighten the risk of eviction for occupants. In this connection, the Protection Cluster, mandated to ensure that protection is integrated into the work of all clusters, clearly has a critical role.

In collective centres, the lack of security of tenure and of adequate property registration creates a tenuous existence where the risk of evictions is ever present.

Living in limbo: conflict-induced displacement in Europe and Central Asia

An important role therefore arises for the Protection Cluster expert group on land, housing and property rights. Protection for refugees and IDPs ultimately is about securing durable solutions. While collective centres often provide displaced populations with critical emergency shelter, they are unlikely to provide a durable and dignified housing solution; the poor living conditions and the associated vulnerabilities are only exacerbated over time.


  1. Living in Limbo;
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  3. Disaster-induced Displacement and Development.

In BiH, 14 years after the war, some 7, IDPs — mostly elderly, chronically physically or mentally ill, and otherwise highly vulnerable persons — continue to live in places which provided emergency shelter during the war. Any alternative accommodation must meet adequate housing standards, and the refugee and IDP residents must have a right of stay, without risk of arbitrary eviction, until a permanent housing solution is found.

In a government-led effort to close collective centres in Chechnya in , IDPs were offered incentives including use of land or a grant for rental accommodation. However, IDMC reports that the compensation and assistance were seldom adequate.


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  • In other cases, it will be possible, even preferred by the displaced residents, to convert the collective centres into long-term accommodation, possibly as part of refugee and IDP residents opting for local integration as a durable solution. Such a process was launched in Georgia, in an important policy shift by the government in May , to rehabilitate collective centres to adequate housing standards and allow IDPs to take ownership of their places in collective centres or to access alternative durable housing solutions.

    The approach to collective centres and those accommodated in them should be comprehensive in a number of ways:. Erin Mooney erindmooney hotmail. These remarks were written in her personal capacity.

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    Erin Mooney. This study also identified common characteristics: multiple displaced families living in the same structure or settlement residence in the settlement typically assigned by government authorities, donor agencies or both shelter almost always provided free of charge settlements usually set apart from the local populations, creating varying degrees of isolation.