Who is displaced by disasters, what do they experience, and how can individuals make a difference? 

AIRI IRIS RYU  |  29 MAY 2020  |  OXFORD MIGRATION CONFERENCE 2020

What do we imagine when we hear the term ‘internal displacement’? Do we think of it as something that will never happen to us? As something that is far from our daily lives? Do we consider that perhaps anyone – whether young or old, rich or poor – can become displaced? Focusing on disaster displacement, this video sheds light on what it means to be internally displaced in the modern age of climate change and rapid urbanisation. The video is based on stories heard while visiting an evacuation centre in Japan, opened after Typhoon Hagibis in October 2019. I reflect on the difficulties faced by those who have lost their homes. This includes dependency on governmental support and aggravated health and wellbeing. I also attempt to deconstruct what it means to provide support to displaced people. 

 

Are current disaster management plans effective? If not, why and what can we do to improve this? Moreover, who should be responsible for providing support? Should we depend solely on government and international organisations for aid, or can individuals also make a difference to support those who are displaced? With the continuation of anthropogenic climate change, we will see a future with more and stronger disasters. This means more homes destroyed, more evacuation orders, and more people becoming internally displaced and in need of new homes and communities. Knowing this, it has never been more critical to reimagine who will be displaced and how we can help.

Airi Iris Ryu

Iris is a social entrepreneur with a Master's degree from the University of Cambridge in Engineering for Sustainable Development. She is developing a digital platform that will help deliver more adequate emergency shelter to displaced people through better integrating spontaneous volunteers into disaster response plans. She also works for CBRE, a real estate investment firm, as an ESG Analyst to drive sustainable development and resilience agendas within the built environment. 

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