News: IOM Launches Policy Dialogue on Climate Change and Displacement

(International Organization for Migration) May 28, 2010 – Bangladesh –  A year after Cyclone Aila, the last major cyclone to hit southwest Bangladesh, IOM and the BRAC Development Institute (BDI) have organized the country’s first policy dialogue on Environment, Climate Change and Migration.

The meeting, which was attended by government policy makers, representatives of civil society and donors, also saw the launch of a study commissioned by IOM from independent researcher Matthew Walsham: “Assessing the Evidence: Environment, Climate Change and Migration in Bangladesh.”

BDI launched a second study examining the links between climate change and urbanization in


The two studies show that climate change and natural disasters like cyclones have complex but tangible effects on patterns of migration. Over the long-term they result in migration from environmentally vulnerable regions. But both papers concede that there still is a dearth of studies on the nexus between climate change and displacement.

“Bangladesh needs to learn more and respond proactively if we are to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of environmentally induced migration. While disaster risk reduction and post-disaster response have improved significantly, Cyclone Aila showed us that there is still a lot of room for improvement,” says

IOM Regional Representative for South Asia Rabab Fatima.

Over four million people living in low-lying coastal areas were directly affected by Aila on 25 May last year. The cyclone killed 190 people, left a trail of destruction and displaced tens of thousands. A year on, some 100,000 people are still displaced on mud embankments, with little food, drinking water or sanitation.

In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, IOM provided shelter kits and basic non-food relief items to more than 24,000 families (120,000 people), with funding from the United Kingdom. It also set up a Displacement Tracking Matrix.

Source: IOM

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