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Remittances and disaster: Policy implications for disaster risk management - Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Policy Brief Series - Issue 2 , Vol. 1, March 2015

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Introduction

In the last few years, remittances sent to low-income countries have been noticeably increasing, reaching about USD 404 billion in 2013 (World Bank, 2014), more than three times the level of Official Development Assistance. For the households of these nations, remittances often represent an important source of income. During and after disasters, remittances may become even more important to deal with emergency and recovery needs (Fagen, 2006; Wu, 2006). Building on local people resources, in ways that are culturally, socially and economically accepted creates the conditions for successful and sustainable disaster risk management (DRM) (Gaillard and Mercer, 2013). Yet, this people-based mechanism is largely disregarded by agencies involved in DRM, who rarely take into account remittances within their relief actions and recovery programmes (Le De, Gaillard and Friesen, 2013). This brief provides potential policy options to integrate remittances within current DRM practices. Policy recommendations are based on research conducted in Samoa and New Zealand, which aimed to investigate the role of remittances in a disaster context.

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