university FACULTY OF ARTS DEPARTMENT OF DEVELPOMENT STUDIES
MODULE: DEMOGRAPHY, MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT LECTURER:
NAME: KEITH JASPER MANAKE
QUESTION: Discuss the impact of natural disasters on migration on the continent
International migration is of great concern to both developing and developed countries. The movement of people is led by economic, demographic, political, social, cultural and environmental factors in both the sending country ‘push factors’ as well as in destination countries ‘pull factors’ Harris and Todaro, (1970). Natural disasters are one of the major factors leading to migration in Africa as a result of poor disaster management skills for example drought in the horn of Africa, floods in South Africa and Mozambique, cyclones in Madagascar and earthquakes in Egypt. Natural disasters destroy the infrastructure thereby living people without accommodation while others like drought increase poverty and food insecurity thereby in an attempt to secure basic needs humans are forced to migrate thus forced migration due to natural disasters. Naudé (2008) shows in the Sub-Saharan Africa context that environmental pressure has an impact on migration through the frequency of natural disasters hence the rate of migration can be directly linked to natural disasters in the continent. However in countries with proper disaster management techniques natural disasters do not largely lead to migration and some can say it does not have a greater impact on migration though it’s a subject to debate.
Natural disasters are a major contributing factor towards migration especially within the continent of Africa where most countries fail to properly counter these disasters. The severe drought which is affecting vast areas of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti is leading to a considerable increase in complex, multi-directional migration flows, both within and across international borders, according to Reuveny (2007). Poverty in the region is now at its highest level and the people are migrating in an attempt to improve their basic needs like food and clean water which are now scarce within the countries scholars like Smith (2007) confirm that migration on a permanent or temporary basis has always been one of the most important survival strategies adopted by people confronted by natural or human-caused disasters. The drought in Somalia has led to massive migration with people seeking assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya, with some 50,000 new arrivals reported in June. Over the past three weeks, some 11,000 people have arrived in Ethiopia and more than 8,600 in Kenya, with daily arrivals now averaging 2,000 in Ethiopia and 1,200 in Kenya, says IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker. Thereby from such a case one may say natural disasters have a greater impact on migration which can be confirmed by the current situation in the horn of Africa.
Natural disasters like cyclones and earthquakes destroy the infrastructure and usually leave people with no accommodation as well as loss of jobs. An example can be sited of the 1960 earthquake in Agadir, Morocco which killed 15 000 people (a third of the town’s population), injured 13 000, destroyed approximately 70% of the town’s buildings and 35 000 people left homeless which is confirmed by Barnett and jones in their book ‘forced migration’. With such a situation at hand, migration was inevitable since the town was extremely destroyed thereby most of the survivors migrated to neighbouring countries so as to seek refuge. Moving to closer towns and cities would lead to overpopulation hence competition on...
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