Annual Report 2015: Knowledge generation and use

Post-Quake Research Clarifies Links between Migration and Community Resilience 

It’s often thought that migration remittances can boost a community’s resilience to disaster. But would that prove to be the case after the 2015 earthquake, or would the lack of youth to help with rescue and reconstruction mean that, in practice, migration makes people more vulnerable?

Research after the earthquake found that while migration added to vulnerability in the immediate aftermath because of a lack of hands to dig people from the rubble, social media connected the migrants to their homes in ways that made a powerful difference. Not only did workers send aid to their families from afar; they often fed their entire villages.

But the encouraging findings come with caveats. For one thing, many migrant workers had poured their savings into houses and lost the fruit of their labours when the houses collapsed. They now faced the prospect of more years of hard labour just to recoup the loss, suggesting that investing in infrastructure alone is a risky strategy for families.

Findings from the research will be published in 2016, but preliminary results have been shared with decision makers to help inform discussions on labour and migration.