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.
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.
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.
Including migrants in emergency management: a course for local-level practitioners
The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) of the Coiuncil of Europe and EUR-OPA developed an online course to help practitioners at local level including migrants in emergency management. The course is available in English, for free and upon registration on IOM’s e-learning platform.
Conference on Migrants and DRR
The Eur-opa Major Hazards Agreement held a Conference Major Hazards and Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees on 14 October 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. “Disaster risk management policy and practice need to adjust to the much greater mobility of people, and the increasingly complex relationship between risk and mobility.
13th Ministerial Session
Meeting on 26 October 2016 in Lisbon 2017 at the occasion of the 13th ministerial session of EUR-OPA, the ministers from the 25 States parties to the Agreement working in the field of disaster risk reduction, adopted the Recommendation (2016)1 on Major Hazards and Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees
2017 Forum EFDRR
On 28 March, in the framework of the 2017 European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR), EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement organised a Session on “Migration, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience” to discuss the need for more co-ordinated, integrated and inclusive approaches to disaster risk reduction with regard to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
The European Center for Disaster Medicine (CEMEC, San Marino) has developed an ImMigRant Smartphone website and application designed to improve migrants' access to care.