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Only ‘relatively richer’ communities can afford to flee natural disasters – new study

International travel to escape draughts is only available to those in relatively richer African countries, a new paper from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna) has revealed.

For poorer communities, meanwhile, droughts decrease the likelihood of them fleeing, making the impact of that water shortage more severely felt.

According to the report, Human Migration and Natural Resources: Global Assessment of an Adaptive Complex System, co-authored by Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, Professor for Macroeconomics at WU Vienna, the impact of droughts on migration is highly dependent on local income.

The report leveraged research that highlights the relationship between natural resources and migration. But, according to the authors, while the paper finds that natural resources have a significant impact on human mobility, access – or a lack thereof – to natural resources can both mitigate or exacerbate involuntary migration.

Also, according to the report, despite negative assumptions around the impact of refugee camps on natural resource use and degradation, where studied the negative impact of such camps was found to be minimal with some examples of land and resources being restored by these communities.

Reflecting on the report and its findings, WU Vienna’s Crespo Cuaresma says:

“The complexity of the interaction between environmental shocks and mobility requires sophisticated statistical methods to capture such a link quantitatively. Context plays a central role as a mediator between changes in climate and migration responses.”

The report offers a number of important findings for policymakers and was published in the journal Nature Communications.


For more information, or to speak to Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, contact Jonny Stone at or call 01582790704.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of BlueSky Education in the following categories: Health, Environment & Nature, for more information visit