Refugee Camps: From Temporary Settlements to Permanent Dwellings


MOGADISHU,SOMALIA-APRIL 30, 2013. Image via Shutterstock/ By Sadik Gulec

MOGADISHU,SOMALIA-APRIL 30, 2013. Image via Shutterstock/ By Sadik Gulec

With more than 70 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according to the UNHCR, and nearly 25.9 million refugees, the time has come to reconsider the traditional emergency camp approach. Although the concept is temporary by definition, in real life the lifespan of these refugee camps exceeds the planned and the expected.

Ranging from seven to seventeen years, most of these settlements surpass their expiry dates. Actually, on average, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya, “many displaced persons spend more than 16 years living as refugees in temporary shelter.”

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