By 2050 more than two-thirds of the world population will live in urban areas, and around half of urbanization can be attributed to migration. Despite this, urban development strategies struggle to take into account migrants and migration. In densely populated cities, migrants often live in makeshift accommodation and struggle to access services, risking safety and well-being, especially in areas that are vulnerable to natural hazards.
Rebecca is an internal migrant living in a crowded district called Pateros in the outskirts of Metro Manila, Philippines. The local government unit in Pateros works to ensure that new inhabitants, like Rebecca and her children, are registered within the local registry of district inhabitants. This data from each household in the district is important to capture so that the local authorities can ensure that all are accounted for and included in processes happening at local level.
This is ever more crucial in urban areas that are vulnerable to external shocks such as earthquakes. In the Philippines, “the Big One” is an estimated 7.2 magnitude earthquake that is expected to occur along the 100- kilometer West Valley Fault System, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. This is dangerous because the fault system traverses most of wider metro Manila, and there is possibility of soil liquefaction in areas such as Pateros when it strikes.
With predictions of a category seven earthquake among the threats in her district, concerted efforts are being taken by the local government unit to ensure that urban planning takes into account the risks of disasters and puts in place strategies to reduce the chances of displacement. By getting involved in local Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) initiatives run by the local government, Rebecca and her family feel better prepared.
Demonstrating how urban development interventions can take migration into account to enhance development outcomes, the EU-funded 'Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development' (MMICD) project implemented by IOM produced a video to showcase this #MigrationConnection. The video highlights a project implemented in the Philippines by IOM and funded by the EU called the “Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters” (MEND) project.
The MEND project established management systems and conducted simulations to prepare for natural hazards and respond if disaster strikes in vulnerable urban areas of Manila. Those targeted were those most likely to lose their homes, with 503 residents in Pateros supported. By working closely with Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils, efforts were taken to ensure that urban planning reflects these considerations.
The information gathered and maps developed equipped the community and local government with essential tools to aid decision-making. Simulation exercises on mass evacuation and camp management were also organized to help local government units and the community become more resilient to future earthquakes by putting the systems in place and awareness raising.
During this “Decade of Action”, it is essential that the risk of displacement due to disaster is reduced, in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Target 11.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls on governments to significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected by disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.
This is an EU-funded 'Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development' (MMICD) project implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The MMICD project aims to strengthen the process of integrating migration into international cooperation and development policy.