Monday, November 30, 2015

refugee camps are the "cities of tomorrow"?

dezeen |   Governments should stop thinking about refugee camps as temporary places, says Kilian Kleinschmidt, one of the world's leading authorities onhumanitarian aid (+ interview).
"These are the cities of tomorrow," said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. "The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation."
"In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city," he told Dezeen.
Kleinschmidt said a lack of willingness to recognise that camps had become a permanent fixture around the world and a failure to provide proper infrastructure was leading to unnecessarily poor conditions and leaving residents vulnerable to "crooks".
"I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis," he said. "We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed."
Kleinschmidt, 53, worked for 25 years for the United Nations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in various camps and operations worldwide. He was most recently stationed in Zaatari in Jordan, the world's second largest refugee camp – before leaving to start his own aid consultancy, Switxboard.

He believes that migrants coming into Europe could help repopulate parts of Spain and Italy that have been abandoned as people gravitate increasingly towards major cities.
"Many places in Europe are totally deserted because the people have moved to other places," he said. "You could put in a new population, set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished neglected area."