Compound impacts from droughts and structural vulnerability on human mobility

  • 2022•11•23

    Lisa Thalheimer, Nicolas Choquette-Levy, Filiz Garip

    Extreme dry events already disrupt populations’ ability to migrate. In a warming climate, compound drought events could amplify vulnerability and drive forced migration. Here, we contribute the first multi-method research design on societal impacts from compound drought events. We show how mobility patterns are shaped by the intersection of drought and social vulnerability factors in three drought-prone countries – Madagascar, Nepal, and Mexico. We find that internal migration in agricultural communities in Mexico increased by 14 to 24 basis points from 1991 to 2018 and will prospectively increase by 2 to 15 basis points in Nepal in case of a compound drought event in 2025. We show that consecutive drought events exacerbate structural vulnerabilities, limiting migrants’ adaptation options, including long-range migration. We conclude that the additional social pre-conditions, e.g., social isolation and lack of accurate information, ultimately limit migration as an adaptation option for households vulnerable to compound drought events.

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