Most of the disaster displacement recorded globally has taken place in the Asia and Pacific region. An estimated 225.3 million internal displacements—or forced movements—were recorded during 2010−2021. Large-scale storms and floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions keep displacing millions of people every year across this vast region that is home to most of the world’s population.


Medium- to small-scale disasters also put a toll on the resilience of communities and countries to shocks, and the impacts of displacement vary significantly across geographies and economies. Low- and middle-income countries and small island states face specific challenges in preventing and responding to disaster displacement, which will require tailored approaches to confront the challenges posed by the compounding impacts of poverty and inequality, unsustainable urbanization, land degradation and erosion, and climate change, to only name a few.


Many gaps in understanding the full scale and scope of displacement persist. This includes the number of people who remain displaced after disasters and the duration of their displacement. In addition, few assessments allow an understanding of the indirect and long-term social and economic impacts of displacement in the context of disasters, which hampers the design and implementation of sound policies for durable solutions and risk reduction.


This report aims to fill some of these gaps. It presents the disaster displacement trends in the region during 2010−2021 and provides insights into its social and economic impacts. The report also discusses the opportunities ahead, by highlighting the progress made across the region in preventing and responding to disaster displacement. It aims to serve as a basis to raise awareness of this phenomenon, encourage further investments in risk reduction and durable solutions, and guide policy toward this end.


The report is structured in four chapters. Part 1 looks at disaster displacement trends during 2010−2021. It analyzes the main hazards triggering displacement and provides a subregional breakdown presenting the main drivers and impacts of disaster displacement across geographies.


Part 2 discusses the social and economic impacts of displacement in the region and analyzes results from research in selected countries. Part 3 unpacks several dimensions of the phenomenon, including the types of displacement across the disaster risk management cycle, the seasonal nature of the phenomenon, and the role of climate change.


Part 4 discusses the policy landscape as of 2021 to prevent and prepare for disaster displacement in Asia and the Pacific, and the role that the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction will have in galvanizing action for risk reduction and prevention.


Source: Asian Development Bank