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Weathering the Storms: COVID-19, Disasters and Internal Displacement in the Asia-Pacific in 2020

With a focus on the Asia Pacific region, and based on the experience of four case study countries during 2020 – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vanuatu – this report collates knowledge on how COVID-19 and disasters affected IDPs and internal displacement. The report describes how IDPs, and efforts to address displacement and assist and protect IDPs, were affected by the pandemic and government responses as COVID-19 and disasters converged.
The insights and observations from the case studies inform suggestions to: (1) Prevent, mitigate, prepare for, and address disaster-related internal displacement in the context of health crises; and (2) Alleviate harms faced by IDPs when health crises and disasters collide. The case studies reinforce the importance of context-specific, collective, multi-hazard approaches to risk mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery to address overlapping crises.
As such, this report may be valuable for policymakers and practitioners in the Asia Pacific and beyond, assessing strategies to prevent the conditions that lead to displacement, manage converging disasters and health crises and mitigate adverse effects on certain vulnerable groups.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific thank and acknowledge Sanjula Weerasinghe for preparing this publication.

Sincere thanks are also owed to the partners within the Asia-Pacific Disaster Displacement Working Group (DDWG), a work-stream of the UN Issue-Based Coalition on Building Resilience (IBC-R), who reviewed and provided feedback. In particular we acknowledge, Georgetown University, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).