|An Overview of Disaster Management (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1992, 136 p.)|
|PART ONE: HAZARDS AND DISASTERS|
|Chapter 5. Compound and complex disasters 1|
One of the most serious consequences of compound and complex emergencies is the creation of populations of displaced persons. The example of the Horn of Africa refers to many of the displaced populations but there are millions more in other parts of the world.
The term displaced person applies in several contexts. These include people who are:
forced to leave their homes as a result of drought, famine, or other disaster, usually in search of food
non-combatant individuals and families forced to leave their homes because of the direct or indirect consequences of conflict but who remain inside their country
forcibly resettled by their government if the resettlement is ethnically, tribally or racially motivated
expelled from a country, especially as an ethnic or national group, forced out for economic or political reasons.
Reasons for concern
The international humanitarian relief system is just now beginning to meet the challenge of working with the displaced. There are three principle reasons for concern by relief agencies. One is that displaced persons are often ineligible to receive relief and assistance available to refugees (individuals who have crossed an international border seeking protection). A second reason is that the displaced are often insecure about relying on their own government for protection. A third reason is the obstacle of national sovereignty that limits outside agencies to assist this population.
Consequences and effects
The variety of possible situations generating displaced persons makes generalizations difficult, but the following may be experienced in varying degrees.
loss of means of livelihood
communities becoming separated from any services previously provided
loss of normal sources of food
lack of shelter and household necessities
lack of fuel for cooking
lack of potable water
communicable diseases and over-crowding
additional burdens particularly for women heads of households
possibly large numbers of unaccompanied children
loss of land tenure
possible communication and logistics problems
insecurity due to tensions and military activities
Not to be forgotten is the population that may remain at home and, even though they are not trapped in combat areas, they nonetheless are in places that are hard to reach because of political, logistical and/or security obstacles. They may suffer many of the above problems and be isolated from international humanitarian relief.