Governments have a responsibility to protect their people, including from disasters and the effects of climate change. Sometimes that means relocating them to safer areas. Given that the effects of climate change, exacerbated by settlement patterns and pre-existing vulnerabilities, it seems likely that more people will have to be moved from their original habitats in the future. Millions have been uprooted in the past month from massive floods in places as divergent as South Asia and South Texas.
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop organized by KNOMAD at which a cross-disciplinary group of researchers (economics, anthropology, law, health, finance) came together to consider how to strengthen the evidence base of understanding remittances to and from refugees and IDPs.
I was struck by an interview featured in a recent show of CBC Radio One's The Current. Nani Gautam, a live-in caregiver in Canada, was asked how important was the money she sent home to her family in Nepal, especially after the earthquake. “As important as breathing for life,” said Nani, who sends home at least one-third of her earnings every month, month-after-month, for the last five years. Her remittances are even more important now, after the earthquake.