This technical paper presents the initial results of our efforts to assess the risk of displacement associated with disasters and climate change in Vanuatu. It also recognises that relocation is an appropriate long-term adaptation strategy. Disaster displacement is one of the world’s biggest humanitarian and sustainable development challenges, and climate change and urbanisation serve to aggravate the phenomenon.
The inhabitants of small island developing states in the Pacific are among the world’s most exposed to disasters relative to population size. At least 50,000 are at risk of being displaced each year. Almost all human settlements, major services and tourism infrastructure are located in coastal areas, and sudden-onset hazards such as cyclones and flooding pose severe social and economic risks. The results it generates provide insight into future disaster scenarios, informing decision-makers in their efforts to reduce the risk of displacement and with it the number of people forced to flee their homes when hazards strike.