refugee camp

Quick Reference

A temporary place of sanctuary for people who have been displaced from their usual home and habitat by natural or manmade disaster, typically violent armed conflict. Strictly speaking, refugees are people who leave their own country; those who do not leave are described as internally displaced persons. Camps are often primitive, with makeshift facilities that may be improved by the intervention of UN agencies, the Red Cross, and nongovernmental organizations, with weatherproof tents, safe clean water supplies, toilet facilities, provision of medical and nursing care, and social support to reunite family members and organize permanent resettlement. At this stage, the temporary holding camp often evolves into a refugee community. The common health problems include respiratory and gastroenteric infections, post-traumatic stress disorder (especially when families have been fragmented), and often trauma.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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