|Resettlement of Displaced Population - 1st Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1995, 60 p.)|
|Part 1: Displacement|
Displacement is only one of many situations requiring humanitarian assistance. In an assessment of humanitarian needs during an economic crisis exacerbated by conflict in the Republic of Georgia, displaced persons were one of 14 categories of vulnerable persons. Other categories included minimum wage earners, pensioners, war disabled, survivor's pensioners, single mothers, children needing allowances, unemployed, pregnant and lactating women, and young children (Hill et al, 1993:79). Even when recognized as a distinct group, the displaced may be but one of many groups of people equally in need of assistance. Nor is it necessarily true that displaced persons live in worse conditions or have greater needs. In conflict-affected areas, for example, families who refuse or are unable to leave their homes may experience greater privation, violation of rights and suffering than those who sought refuge.
Period of displacement
The period of time people remain away from where they were displaced is a significant factor in resettlement considerations. Displacement may be short-term, perhaps no more than a few days. In natural disasters, for example, people may evacuate during a flood or a volcanic eruption and return when conditions are safe. Sometimes, however, people are displaced for months or years. Some Bihari people in Bangladesh, for example, have been attempting to attain resettlement to another country for more than 20 years and are still considered by some to be displaced. This example raises the question of how long after displacement a person remains a "displaced" if unable to return to place of former residence.
It cannot be assumed that displaced people will wish to return to their former place of residence.
It cannot be assumed that displaced people will wish to return to their former place of residence. Many displaced people never return to their original homes. Some are unable to, for example, when river levels rise over their lands, deep volcanic ash has destroyed their fields or when conflict situations make it unsafe. When people move to another location, especially to cities, and establish an alternative way of living, they often choose to remain in their new situation. Because survival depends upon re-establishing support systems after displacement, it is not surprising that the longer people are away from their previous residences, the more unlikely they are to leave the way of life and associations they have established subsequently.