Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees constitute a significant and growing proportion of the general population of countries in Europe. Globally, more than 60 million people - refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) - are forcibly displaced by conflict, violence, disasters and human rights violations. This is the highest level of forced displacement since World War II.

These groups are more vulnerable in case of a disaster given their limited access to information. They may not master the language of the State where they are displaced, not be aware of risks familiar to locals. They may also experience increased vulnerability if their living conditions are below average (refugee camps, marginal settings in dangerous areas) or if, as a consequence of their situation, they have poor health, relatively low education, etc.

The Council of Europe, through its EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, is promoting improvements in emergency planning, disaster response and risk mitigation for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. EUR-OPA works in particular to:

  • recommend strategies to reduce migrants’ vulnerability and exposure to risks;
  • improve co-ordination between civil protection and other agencies supporting migrants, asylum seekers and refugees;
  • exchange good practices to better engage young people in civil society and in all phases of the disaster risk management cycle, as well as actions for engaging with migrants and using their skills and capacities for disaster risk reduction.

These activities contribute to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Working group Working group