Natural disaster refugees are persons displaced from their home or place of regular residence because of severe weather or geophysical events. The number of natural disaster refugees has grown in recent decades primarily because of increased population density in areas prone to natural disasters. However, while the global incidence of persons displaced by natural disasters has increased, the geographic distribution of this displacement is regionally concentrated. Forced relocations are traumatic, detrimental to the process of human development, and exist within an ambiguous legal context that leaves the status of the displaced unclear.

While they are occasionally conflated, the terms natural disaster refugee and environmental refugee are most appropriately applied to distinct classes of displaced persons. In particular, the term natural disaster refugee refers to persons displaced ...

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