Impacts of Forced Migration

Published: 2019-11-11 08:30:00
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The current world is faced with several challenges which affect human beings. While some of these challenges are naturally caused, others are human induced. Examples of these problems include political differences resulting in civil war, religious conflicts, earthquakes, flooding, and drought. One of the major effects of these issues is migration. However, there exists a difference in migration by free will where people move from place to place based on their self-interests and that of being forced to move. Notably, the challenges mentioned above are considered as the main factors behind forced migration. Forced migration refers to a migratory movement where coercion exists such as natural disasters. This paper thus discusses the impacts of forced migration by first analysing what constitutes the action through three main examples, China, Haiti, and Syria. Secondly, it analyses the effects of coerced migration regarding health and wellbeing. Thirdly are the impacts while in those countries such as inequalities in the access to social amenities for example education. Finally are the long-term impacts of the migration to the socio-economic status of the immigrants and host country.

Forced migration can be caused by various factors such as civil war, earthquakes, and floods. According to the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), forced migration is characterised by movement of refugees and other people displaced internally, with the displacement caused by human factors or natural aspects (FMO, 2012). Notably, this definition has been adopted by the Forced Migration Organization. An example of human induced forced migration is Syrians migration to neighbouring countries such as Turkey. The main cause of forced migration in Syria was the civil war. According to the Failing Syria report, Syrians are not protected, and most of them have been killed causing those who remained to consider moving to other countries (Syrian Refugee Study, 2015). The war in Syria which affects several other countries such as Iraq is as a result of political and religious challenges. The ISIS terrorist group declared Syria and Iraq as caliphate, a situation where international borders are ignored. An example of natural disaster is the Haiti floods and a hurricane with the recent one being in 2016 which has left more than 900 people displaced (Thomaz, 2013). In 2014, more than 6000 homes were destroyed forcing thousands of families being displaced to neighbouring countries. Another naturally induced forced migration is that in China where the Three Georges Dam, one of the largest broke its banks displacing more than 1.2 million people (Cemea et al., 2016). Another natural disaster was the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province where more than 20000 people were displaced.

One of the greatest impacts of forced migration is poor health and well-being of the immigrants. Based on the cause of forced migration, most of the victims are injured resulting in a deteriorating state of their welfare (Lori and Boyle, 2015). Moreover, accessibility to basic needs of the immigrants is challenged, for instance, food and shelter. This results in the victims being vulnerable to diseases and other health conditions. Additionally, the security of these individuals is affected which means that they are still susceptible to more attacks. Access to other health factors such as water and medical care is a problem which results in their health deteriorating rapidly. In Haiti, some of the health and welfare related challenges have been cholera, typhoid, malaria, and dysentery (Press, 2014). The results of hurricane and flooding in this region prevent accessibility to the affected families by the doctors and other humanitarian organization such as WHO and UN to offer relief aid. Another health challenge is that facing those displaced as a result of earthquakes. Such include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Notably, victims of forced migration have been noted to be faced by PTSD and take the time to heal (Song et al., 2015). Of importance to note is that women, children and the elderly are mostly challenged health wise. In Syria for instance, the Failing Syria report states that more than 5.6 million children need aid. This number has been escalating since 2013 by 31% (UNHCR, 2012). UNHCR further states that Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrians refugees who are a big number to receive health aid in such a small country.

Force migration victims have limited access to social amenities such as education. Besides the limited access to health care, other social places that are destroyed by the disasters include schools, churches, and mosques. Therefore, access to services offered by these places is limited. On the other hand, the host countries have limited supply of the social services. Notably, most of the refugee camps contain fewer hospitals, schools and worship places. The inequality access to social services extends to jobs since people living in refugee camps will rarely have easy access to employment in the host countries (Barowsky and Mclntyre, 2010). Initially, individuals born in refugee camps and have no access to education means that illiteracy is a major factor. Therefore access to employment is a problem. An example is Lebanon hosting thousands of refugees who are faced with crisis even in the camps (UNHCR, 2012). Besides, it would be better to first consider access to food, shelter and medical care rather than education and religious places.

Long-term effects of forced migration include financial instability of both the refugees and host countries. Whenever faced migration takes place, the victims are assisted in all aspects such as food and healthcare. This, therefore, means a financial burden to the host country. Most importantly to note is that funds that could have been used for development are channelled towards supporting the refugees. On the other hand, most of the refugees do not have any source of income and are dependent on others in almost all aspects. This then means that their financial stability for the entire period they are in the refugee camps is challenged. Moreover, even if the repatriation process begins to take the refugees back to their host countries, most of their business in the native countries have been destroyed which implies that poverty is still a major factor to avert (Lori and Boyle, 2015). An example is the Syria situation where, in 2013, 71% of the funds needed to support the refugees were provided by the humanitarian bodies. However, this support reduced by 57% in 2014 meaning that the entire financial burden was left to the host countries (Syrian Refugee Study, 2015)

In conclusion, the above discussion analyses the meaning of forced migration in a broad perspective by considering China, Syria and Haiti examples. Forced migration can be induced by either natural or human factors. While natural disasters include floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes, human-made aspects include politics and religions. Some of the impacts of forced migration include poor health and challenges in accessing social factors such as education. To the host countries, impacts of coerced migration include financial burden. The immigrants are also subjected to poverty as a result of over dependence on the host countries and other humanitarian bodies.


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Lori, J.R., Boyle, J.S. (2015). Forced migration: Health and human rights issues among refugee populations. Nursing Outlook, Volume, Volume 63, Issue 1, January February 2015, Pages 68 76 doi: 10.7763/j.outlook.2014.10.008

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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.Syrian Refugee Study (2015) Forced migration case study: Syrian refugees. Available at: (Accessed: 10 October 2016).

Thomaz, D. (2013) Post-disaster Haitian migration. Available at: (Accessed: 10 October 2016).

UNHCR (2012) Lebanon. Available at: (Accessed: 10 October 2016).


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