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Q; The Syrian refugee crisis has been classified as one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent history. Discuss three challenges associated with this humanitarian crisis. How would you recommend managing these challenges? Be prepared to substantiate your ideas.
1) The Middle Eastern instability has presented some of the worst security and humanitarian crises in recent history. The areas that have been in the past linked with terrorist uprising have been affected by wars and destruction that have led to the proliferation of refugees from countries such as Syria. The Syrian refugee crisis, in particular, has been very challenging to the international community. The history of the Middle East, as well as the political climate of the world, has led to three main challenges. First, there is an unwillingness among the western countries and other nations to host the refugees. Second, there is the issue of international security, and lastly, the refugees also face poor qualities of life when they move out of their countries due to the shortage of support.
The issue of international security leads to Syrians not being welcome or being treated harshly in some of the countries they go to. For instance, in some countries, there are no official channels of registering the Syrian refugees. In Lebanon for example, the country asked the United Nations to stop registering refugees at the border in 2015 (Center for Homeland Defense and Security Naval Postgraduate School, 2017). The country also does not allow the Syrians to have camps. The reason for not allowing camps to prevent the concentration of Syrians in one place because they fear it may lead to militarization.
The Syrian refugees have also been exposed to very terrible living conditions in and out of the camps. Even though the United Nations helps by offering foods and other needs, the high numbers of refugees in the camps make the conditions unsafe for humans. The refugees have crossed to countries like Jordan whose economies are not very strong where they have relatives and live among the people. There are already shortages in the infrastructure and resources like water and housing are not enough (Gabiam, 2016). People have to live in warehouses and other shelters. Such living conditions expose refugees to illnesses and other social problems.
The third issue that affects the Syrian crisis is the unwillingness of countries in Europe and the Middle East to take in the refugees due to their resources being strained. At the start of the crisis, the situation was not very bad the, and the borders were open for the refugees (Center for Homeland Defense and Security Naval Postgraduate School, 2017). However, with time the refugees became overwhelming, and some countries like Lebanon closed their borders and other restricted the entry of the refugees to protect their citizens from too much competition for the scarce employment opportunities and the strained resources like healthcare and others.
Center for Homeland Defense and Security Naval Postgraduate School. (2017). The Syrian Refugee Crisis Part I: Dimensions of the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
Center for Homeland Defense and Security Naval Postgraduate School. (2017), Part III: Why did the Syrian Refugees go to Europe.
Gabiam, N. (2016). Humanitarianism, Development, and Security in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Syrian Refugee Crisis. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 48(2), 382–386.
2) Since 2015, the Syrian refugee crisis has been one of the most critical humanitarian crises around the globe (Baylouny, 2017). There are over five million Syrians have fled from their home country, seeking refugees to many different countries, such as Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and more other countries. While being displaced in foreign countries, Syrian refugees have been harmfully impacted by dramatic challenges during their life. There are several difficulties and challenges related to this humanitarian crisis; however, in this post, I will focus only on poverty and insecurity, poor healthcare services, and lack of education and unemployment.
Poverty and Insecurity
Poor Syrian refugees in Lebanon have experienced difficulties in affording homes or even camps since it is not allowed to establish formal camps in this country (Baylouny, 2017). As a potentially harmful result, I foresee that these impoverished Syrians who cannot rent places to live at will likely live as homelessness in a country such as Lebanon in which there are no shelters that can protect these refugees. Thus, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should secure these people by providing places for them to live a normal life. Furthermore, Syrian refugees in Lebanon are likely to face environmental and public health issues because this country has a high percentage of water insecurity. A recent study has stated that more than half of the Lebanese have difficulties in accessing safe water (Baylouny & Klingseis, 2018). Therefore, Syrian refugees will likely be the significantly affected group by this issue since they have no even secure places to colonize in Lebanon.
Poor Healthcare Services
Although Syrian refugees are provided with camps and shelters in Turkey, unlike in Lebanon, they have struggled with poor quality healthcare services in both these countries (Tayfur, Günaydin, & Suner, 2019). When fleeing from Syria to Turkey, Syrian refugees will be more vulnerable to infectious diseases. As a result, these people will likely need efficient health services, such as getting vaccines to be protected from the outbreaks. Moreover, there are probably many women among the massive number of Syrian refugees who are or will be pregnant: therefore, it is critical to establish such as health centers to treat and protect Syrian refugees in Turkey. There is a recent study report that UNHCR has established health care services in Turkey to support these refugees (Tayfur et al., 2019). However, the study also shows that there is an insufficient quantity of polio and measles vaccines, resulting in an inability to vaccinate almost 30% of the Syrian refugees in Turkey. It is thus vital that UNHCR expands the number of vaccines to cover all the refugees in order to protect them from disease outbreaks.
Lack of Education and Unemployment
The third challenge has adversely impacted Syrian refugees, particularly children, is that they cannot obtain adequate education while being displaced in foreign countries (Baylouny, 2017). Adult Syrian refugees also have been unable to obtain higher education in the host countries due to the different cultures and rules. For example, those who cannot speak the English language will be much more affected than can use this global language to communicate with companies and applying for jobs. Hence, to obtain well-paid jobs, these people will need to acquire a high level of education. The unemployment rate among Syrian refugees has been one of the complicated challenges in Lebanon (Baylouny, 2017). Lebanon government, for instance, has made it challenging for these refugees to work full time since making restrictions to prevent them from getting out of their homes at a particular time. As a negative consequence of being uneducated and unemployed, these refugees will be harmfully impacted in their life since they cannot afford their cost of living in foreign countries.
Some Recommendations to Manage the Previous Challenges
As an emergency manager, I believe that establishing such an integration response between the United Nations and countries’ governments in which Syrian refugees have fled will likely minimize the adverse effects of the previous challenges. Additionally, this coordination response can increase the level of such health care services that provide to Syrian refugees, leading to decreasing such infectious diseases among this group of population. Finally, I would also recommend providing these people with a high level of education to facilitate obtaining jobs for them in the future and also to focus on health education, which can help them to prepare for such public health emergencies.
Baylouny, A. M. [Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School]. (2017, December 11). The Syrian Refugee Crisis Part I: Dimensions of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVW4U-4QT-4&feature=youtu.be
Baylouny, A. M. [Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School]. (2017, December 11). The Syrian Refugee Crisis Part II: The Syrian Refugee Crisis’ Effects on Host States. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smsjj1UHPMk
Baylouny, A. M., & Klingseis, S. J. (2018). Water thieves or political catalysts? Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. Retrieved from https://my.nps.edu/documents/105858948/106279825/Baylouny_Klingseis_Water+Thieves_Political+Catalyst_Mar18/11d89f9a-ab4e-43ee-944a-fed9e863cd9a
Tayfur, I., Günaydin, M., & Suner, S. (2019). Healthcare Service Access and Utilization among Syrian Refugees in Turkey. Annals of global health, 85(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5334/aogh.2353