Refugee settlements are highly exposed to extreme weather conditions

S Fransen*, A Werntges, A Hunns, M Sirenko, T Comes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Involuntary displacement from conflict and other causes leads to clustering of refugees and internally displaced people, often in long-term settlements. Within refugee-hosting countries, refugee settlements are frequently located in isolated and remote areas, characterized by poor-quality land and harsh climatic conditions. Yet, the exposure of refugee settlements to climatic events is underresearched. In this article, we study the exposure of the 20 largest refugee settlements worldwide to extreme variations in climatic conditions. The analysis integrates exposure of camp locations compared to the national trends for both slow- and rapid-onset events and includes descriptive statistics, signalto- noise analyses, and trend analyses. Our findings show that most refugee settlements included face relatively high exposure to slow-onset events, including high temperatures (for settlements in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda), low temperatures (in the case of Jordan and Pakistan), and low levels of rainfall (in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda) compared to national averages. Our findings for rapid-onset events-heatwaves, coldwaves, and extreme rainfall-are less conclusive compared to country trends, although we find relatively high exposure to extreme rainfall in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Our analyses confirm that refugee populations are exposed to extreme weather conditions postdisplacement, which, in combination with their sociopolitical exclusion, poses a threat to well-being and increased marginalization. Our findings call for an inclusive and integrated approach, including refugees and their host communities, in designing climate adaptation and sustainable development policies, in order to promote equitable sustainable development pathways in refugee-hosting countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2206189120
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024

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