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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganization of Response
View the documentCriteria for Site Selection
View the documentSite Planning: General Considerations
View the documentSite Planning: Specific Infrastructure
View the documentShelter
View the documentReception and Transit Camps
View the documentPublic Buildings and Communal Facilities

Reception and Transit Camps

88. Reception and transit camps are used where it is necessary to provide temporary accommodation for refugees. These camps might be necessary at the beginning of a refugee emergency as a temporary accommodation pending transfer to a suitable, safe, longer term holding camp, or at the end of an operation, prior to repatriation, as a staging point for return. Reception and transit camps are therefore usually either intermediate or short term installations.

89. Whether the transit camp is used in an emergency or as part of a repatriation operation, the camp should be designed for short stays of 2 to 5 days and a high turnover rate.

90. The required capacity of a transit camp will depend primarily on how many people will be channelled through the camp and in what time. This will depend on the absorption or reintegration capacity at the receiving end as well as the total time foreseen to carry through the operation.

91. The primary criteria for site selection for a transit camp are:

i. Good access (road, port, airport);

ii. The availibility of water;

iii. Good drainage (minimum 2% slope);

iv. Adequate conditions for sanitation.

92. The transit camp must be strictly functional and equipped with considerably higher construction standards than regular refugee camps. Operational maintenance must be fully supplied through the camp management. In particular, cleaning and disinfection of accommodation and sanitation areas need to be carried out on a regular and ongoing basis. Prepared food should be provided and individual food preparation should be prohibited. The transit camp will therefore need kitchen facilities, wet food distribution and a hall for food consumption. In view of the expected short-term stay, a minimum of 3 m2 per person is needed.

93. Standards for the construction of transit facilities are:

Accommodation: in barracks, long houses (open plan or subdivision for groups/families of 5 persons) heated in cold climates. For example, a tent of 85 m2 can accommodate approximately 14 to 25 persons;

i. Sanitation: 20 persons per latrine, 50 persons per shower. Regular and intensive maintenance is required;

ii. Water supply: absolute minimum provision of 7 litres/person/day plus water required for kitchens, cleaning and sanitation;

iii. Food preparation: approximately 100 m2 per 500 persons;

iv. Storage: 150 to 200 m3 per 1,000 persons;

v. A public address system;

vi. Lighting;

vii. Arrival zones and departure zones which are separated from accommodation zones;

viii. Administrative offices and staff accommodation;

ix. One health post;

x. Security fencing (depending on circumstances).