The last resort? Population movement in response to climate-related hazards in Bangladesh

Penning-Rowsell, Edmund C. ORCID logoORCID:, Sultana, Parvin and Thompson, Paul M. (2013) The last resort? Population movement in response to climate-related hazards in Bangladesh. Environmental Science and Policy, 27 (Supl 1) . S44-S59. ISSN 1462-9011 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2012.03.009)


This paper seeks to understand the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors affecting hazard-related migration. A literature review and fieldwork using focus groups have explored the influence of hazards on short term and more permanent population movements. The review showed that hazard induced loss of life has declined markedly in Bangladesh over the last three decades but economic losses are not declining in parallel, and may be increasing as the economy grows. Recorded population movement in response to hazard events is (a) to safety and (b) for income recovery after the event, mainly for the landless. There is little permanent movement/migration from hazard-prone areas despite the major threats, except, obviously, where the land where people live is eroded or where saline intrusion inhibits agriculture. Our fieldwork in five hazard affected villages supports these findings and suggests that the vulnerability to hazards of the rural population here may be increasing, owing to reduced savings. Nevertheless the ‘anchoring’ factors encouraging families and communities to ‘stay put’ are strong, and the adverse effects of migration – moving to strange and sometimes perilous urban areas – are keenly appreciated. In general females fare worse than males in disasters, but males migrate more. The poorest are always the hardest hit and are more likely to have some family members move regularly or permanently, to seek work, leaving vulnerable women and children behind. Nevertheless population movement and migration appears generally to be the ‘last resort’, despite the seriousness of the risks that are faced. The implications include the proposition that climate change induced increased hazardousness may well not result in mass migration unless those affected cannot derive a secure income from the areas affected.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Hazards; Bangladesh; Impacts; Evacuation; Migration; Focus groups
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 10708
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Depositing User: Josie Joyce
Date Deposited: 30 May 2013 08:30
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 11:09

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