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Assessing the impact of displacement on IDPs and host communities in Vanuatu

Published on 02 November 2022

The island nation of Vanuatu has the highest disaster risk worldwide.[1] More than 60 per cent of its population live within one kilometer of the coast, where they are highly exposed to slow- and sudden-onset hazards, including cyclones, storm surges and sea level rise.[2] The 83 islands of Vanuatu lie in the path of tropical cyclones and are subject to the cycles of El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation, which increase the risk of droughts and floods, respectively.[3] The archipelago also lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a seismically active area of the Pacific that accounts for 75 per cent of the world’s volcanoes and more than 90 per cent of its earthquakes.[4] The sea level has risen in Vanuatu by an average of six millimeters per year since 1993, well above the global average.[5] To bridge existing knowledge gaps on the differentiated and economic impacts of displacement, IDMC conducted a study on displacement linked with the 2017/2018 Manaro Voui volcanic eruptions on Ambae in December 2021.[6]


This preliminary analysis starts to piece together the impact and potential policies to support IDPs beyond humanitarian support. It analyzes data collected by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) from 307 individuals – 154 internally displaced individuals and 153 people from within the host communities. Women make up 52% of respondents in IDP households and hosts households.  The sample size while relatively small, provides a starting point to understand progress in reaching different development outcomes based only on the households sampled. While effort was made for the sample to be representative, the representativeness does not capture the entire population of IDPs or hosts in each country.   

Composition of survey respondents

Development Impact


[1] IFHV, Work Risk Report 2021, 2021. 

[2] Andrew, N.L. et al., Coastal proximity of populations in 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories, 2019.

[3] FAO, An assessment of the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security: A case study in Vanuatu, 2007. 

[4] National Geographic, Ring of Fire, accessed: 5 December 2021; USGS, Earthquake Glossary, Ring of Fire, accessed: 5 December 2021.

[5] Pacific Climate Change Science Program, Current and future Climate of Vanuatu, 2013.

[6] IDMC report, Disaster displacement : Vanuatu Country Briefing, 2022.

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