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The multifaceted relationship between extreme weather events, displacement and conflict: New insights from Somalia
  • Lisa Thalheimer,
  • Felix Pretis
Lisa Thalheimer
University of Oxford

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Felix Pretis
University of Victoria
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Extreme weather and migratory events have been topics of great interest for decades. More recently, a debate has emerged whether the human impact of climate change can lead to armed conflict, and how conflict and extreme climate events interact in inducing large-scale displacement. This paper explores the relationship between conflict and displacement in the context of droughts and floods across Somalia, a country in the East Africa region, in which the population has historically been using migration as coping strategy for the effects of recurring climatic extremes and socio-economic uncertainties. Since 2015, Somalia has been affected by a humanitarian crisis, paired with on-going conflict, which subsequently reduced resilience of its population. Applying panel econometric methods to monthly within-country migration observations from 18 regions together with spatio-temporal conflict and weather data, this paper quantifies the impacts of conflict and extreme weather events on within-country displacement over the period of 2016 to 2018. It combines and analyses conflict-, drought- and flood-related displacement data from the UNHCR-led Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN), disaggregated conflict data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) with gridded climate estimate data. Empirical evidence suggests significant interaction effects between conflict and extreme weather events on migration, where pre-existing conflict conditions act as accelerators of climate-induced displacement.