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2011-02-03 | project

Measuring the effects of flood risk on migration flows: An application for Costa Rica

The objective of this project is to estimate to what extent migration movements within a country are explained by occurrence of extreme weather events in general and more specifically by floods.

Climate-change-induced extreme events have exacerbated risks associated to floods in vulnerable areas in Central America. Experts forecast that the rise in global temperatures will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme natural events (UNFCCC 2007, IPCC 2007). Central American countries are regularly affected by floods caused by cyclone events and hurricanes. Examples are Hurricane Mitch, which devastated long areas in Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998 and Hurricane Stan that heavily hit Guatemala in 2005. What is worrisome is that the intensity of such storms is forecasted to increase to levels never seen before.

 

Population displacement to less or none affected areas is one of the most abrupt socioeconomic consequences of weather extreme events. However, there are still many answered questions regarding the relationship between migration and flood risk.

 

The objective of this project is to estimate to what extent migration movements within a country are explained by occurrence of extreme weather events in general and more specifically by floods. Our initial proposal is to perform an initial analysis and to define an analytical framework for Costa Rica, to later be expanded to other Central American countries where the degree of exposure to natural disasters is significantly high.

 

The Project is envisioned in three main stages. The first one consists on estimating the impact of floods on migration rates; the second will identify the most vulnerable areas to migration movements and the last one, involves projecting local migration flows under different climate change scenarios, under the assumption of limited or null governmental prevention and mitigation policies and actions.