Remittances: An Unrecognised Support Mechanism During Humanitarian Crises

Published By: ELDIS | Published Date: September, 17 , 2007

Remittances – money sent home by migrants – can help families survive conflicts or natural disasters. However, humanitarian agencies often fail to consider remittances when planning interventions. This neglect reflects tendencies to undervalue crisis-affected populations and to simplistically depict disaster-affected people as helpless and vulnerable.A study from the Overseas Development Institute draws on evidence from Haiti, Pakistan, Somaliland, Sudan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka to explore how affected people use remittance income to survive and recover from crises. The researchers show that remittances are not a solution or substitute for humanitarian action, but there is great potential for humanitarian agencies to explore how emergency relief and people’s own efforts to support friends and family can complement each other in times of crisis.In 2006 remittances through formal channels – banks and other financial institutions – were an estimated US$268 billion. Informal mechanisms, such as traditional money-transfer systems and remittances carried by hand – account for perhaps half as much again. Remittances are particularly important for the world’s poorest countries, often those most prone to crises and disasters.

Author(s): Paul Harvey, Kevin Savage | Posted on: Feb 01, 2016 | Views()

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