The coerced movement of people away from their homes and home regions is termed as forced migration. The term is used to describe the movement of refugees, those displaced as a result of conflict as well as the persons displaced by environmental or natural disasters, famine, developmental projects or nuclear or chemical disasters. Forced migration is a wide-ranging, pervasive and complex phenomenon. Throughout human history, forced migration has accompanied wars but has only emerged as a topic of serious discussion and analysis relatively recently. The increased focus on this condition is due to the greater ease of travel, which allows people to flee to other countries from their nations. Besides, the development of the worldwide legal framework of human rights and the discovery that the destabilizing impacts of forced migration more so in parts of Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia go beyond the immediate region has increased the focus on coerced migration (Randell, 2016). In the recent past, China has experienced developmental as well as disaster induced migration whose consequences have impacted on the lives of people economically, socially and even politically.
With its hunger for hydroelectric power, China has constructed various dams over the past thirty years, the biggest of all being the Three Gorges Dam in Yangtze Valley. Being the largest hydropower project in the world and also the most notorious, the Three Gorges Dam project displaced more than 1.2 million persons with the number of towns and cities flooded being 1,503. In 2008, the country was hardly hit by an earthquake in Sichuan Province. The disaster displaced more than 20,000 individuals. Both the human-made and natural displacements have severe consequences not only for the people but to the state as a whole as illustrated in this text.
Effects of Forced Migration in ChinaMarginalization
This happens when families are deprived of their economic power and degenerate on a downward mobility trail. Many individuals are unable to use their old attained skills at the new location, and thus human capital is rendered obsolete or inactive or eventually lost (Satiroglu, and Choi, 2015). Economic marginalization is in most times followed by psychological and social marginalization, which is demonstrated in a fall in social status, loss of confidence in the society and a feeling of deepened vulnerability and injustice.
The essential elements of forced migration are that it results to an intense unwinding of existing forms of social organization. The untangling happens at various levels. When people are moved forcefully, production systems are interfered with. The long-established settlements and residential communities are disorganized and as families and kinship group get scattered. The life supporting private social networks that offer mutual help are made non-functional. Established trade connections between customers and their producers are interrupted, and the local labor market is disrupted (Avogo, 2010). Both informal and formal groups and self-organized services are cleared out by the unexpected scattering of their membership. Traditional systems of management tend to lose their heads. The forced abandonment of typical features like graves and shrines deletes some psychological and physical connections with the past and erodes at the roots of individuals, cultural identity. The summative effect is that it tears apart the social fabric.
Increased Mortality and Morbidity
Enormous displacement of people threatens to result in severe decrease in health levels and deaths. When China experienced an earthquake in 2008 for example, more than 69,000 lives were lost. Displacement may also result in psychological trauma and social stress. Illness such as vector-borne like malaria and schistosomiasis as well as parasitic diseases may also result. Improvised drainage systems and unsafe water raise the vulnerability to dysentery and chronic diarrhea, epidemics and so on, with the most affected being children, infant, and the elderly people (Siciliano, 2014).
Loss of Access to Community Services
When natural calamities such as earthquakes occur, many facilities such as hospitals, schools, and churches are destroyed. This deprives the victims of health care services, educational facilities. It also delays opportunities for children to access education both in the short run and in the long term.
Loss of Access to Common Property
When people are forced to migrate for whatever reasons, their livelihoods and incomes tend to significantly deteriorate. This is the case especially for poor people who lose access to common property assets such as quarries, burial grounds, pastures, water bodies and forest lands that were owned by related communities.
For both rural and urban displacement, the risk of wage employment loss is very high for the people employed in services, enterprise or agricultural sectors. Creation of new job opportunities is tough and requires substantial investment. Among the migrants, underemployment or unemployment lasts long after the completion of physical relocation.
The expropriation of land due to construction of developmental projects removes the principal foundation upon which individual's productive systems livelihoods and commercial activities are constructed (Song, Kaplan, and Tol, et al., 2015). This is the major type of pauperization and de-capitalization of displaced persons as they lose both their human-made and natural capital.
Although it only lasts for a while, loss of shelter is another severe consequence of forced migration. For some resettlers, worsening in housing standards or homelessness is still a lingering condition. In a wider cultural perspective, the loss of a group's cultural space or loss of a family's home results to status deprivation and alienation.
Violation of Human Rights
Forced migration from ones habitual residence, as well as loss of properly without equitable compensation, constitutes a violation of social and economic human rights. Besides, arbitrage displacement can as well result in a violation of political and civic rights. In addition, displacement does carry not only the risk of human rights violation but also the result of communal violence when new migrants move in amongst existing settlers (Young, and Chan, 2015). However, In China, the development projects are approved by the government.
Finally, coerced uprooting of food crops increases the chances of people falling chronic or temporary undernourishment. When a country experiences an earthquake, there is massive destruction of crops and other plantations that support the life of individuals (Barowsky, Mclntyre, 2010.). The destruction of crops results to food insecurity in the country.
In conclusion, each year, millions of people are forcibly migrated by either natural calamities or developmental projects as is the case in China. Although developmental projects may have enormous advantages to the society, they also inflict costs that are borne by the most marginalized and poorest members. Forced migration leave people jobless, homeless, unable to access community and standard services and in some cases, they are left landless. When China constructed its largest dam, many people felt the effects of the externalities that the project imposed by the community. However, it is possible to avoid these consequences of forced migration, only when it is a human-made occurrence.
Avogo, W.A., Agadjanian, V. 2010. Forced migration and child health and mortality in Angola. Social Science &medicine, January 2010, Vol.70(1), pp 53-60
Barowsky, E., Mclntyre, T. 2010. Migration and Relocation Trauma of Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Childhood education, 86.3(Spring 2010): 161-168
Cernea, M.M., Cabalion, J., Chan, K.W., Chen, Y., Chyrmang, R., Das, S.K., Korra, V., Liu, G., Rajan, S.I., Saglio-Yatzimirsky, M.C. and Song, H., 2016. Development-Induced Displacement in India and China: A Comparative Look at the Burdens of Growth. Rowman & Littlefield.Morantz, G., Rousseau, C. and Heymann, J., 2012. The divergent experiences of children and adults in the relocation process: Perspectives of child and parent refugee claimants in Montreal. Journal of Refugee Studies, 25(1), pp.71-92.Randell, H., 2016. The short-term impacts of development-induced displacement on wealth and subjective well-being in the Brazilian Amazon. World Development, 87, pp.385-400.Satiroglu, I. and Choi, N. eds., 2015. Development-induced Displacement and Resettlement: New Perspectives on Persisting Problems. Routledge.Siciliano, G., 2014. Ruralurban migration and domestic land grabbing in China: Drivers, impacts and trade-offs.
Song, S.J., Kaplan, C., Tol, W.A., Subica, A. and de Jong, J., 2015. Psychological distress in torture survivors: pre-and post-migration risk factors in a US sample. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 50(4), pp.549-560.Young, M.Y. and Chan, K.J., 2015. The psychological experience of refugees: A gender and cultural analysis. In Psychology of gender through the lens of culture (pp. 17-36). Springer International Publishing.
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