The UN International Organisation for Migration says there is a need for a data pool of the demographic of migration trends in the island.
The IOM says migration refers not only to people moving to and from other country, but within communities.
Maxine Alleyne-Esprit of the IOM in Dominica says that while it is necessary to share information about migration, recorded data is critical for planning.
She disclosed, “We really have a need to collect data on the landscape of migration in Dominica before we can begin to think of setting any kind of policies to do with migration in Dominica. Our decisions need to be fact-based. We hope that academia locally as well as regionally, the government institutions and organisations like us will become more involved in gathering data so that we can more truly understand what the situation is.”
One of the projects of the IOM will ensure the safety of migrants in the event of natural disaster.
This is particularly important to Dominica as a small island developing state susceptible to climatic events.
“For instance, one of the projects that we are moving into right now is called Migrants in Crisis. It looks at how do we, in our context for instance, prepare the migrant communities for disaster. How do they know what they should do in the event of a hurricane or a volcano, or an earthquake, or flooding?
“Do they know that the area where they are living is potentially prone to flooding? In a disaster management context, how do we communicate, and who do we communicate with? Where are they? What are the numbers? How many people do we need to cater to in our emergency preparation? What communities have larger populations that need to be communicated to in a certain language? So on a very basic level, those would be one of the policy aspects.”
She says comprehensive and accurate data will help authorities to prepare for and relocate residents in the event of disaster.