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close this bookMedical Assistance to Self-settled Refugees (Tropical Institute Antwerp, 1998)
close this folder3. The refugee-crisis: between self-reliance and pragmatic assistance
close this folderSettlement patterns of refugees
View the documentThe number and distribution of refugees*
View the document'Integration' of urban refugees
View the documentRural refugees: between 'integration' and 'segregation'
View the document'Refugees live in camps'

'Refugees live in camps'

Contrary to the diverse realities described above, staff of aid agencies and government bodies tended to speak of 'the refugees' without making any distinction. The name given to a refugee settlement, was invariably the name of a Guinean village with the suffix 'camp'. For example, Noonah is a small Guinean village, and the refugee camp was called Noonah camp. But also in Badou, where one hundred refugees lived in huts on one side of the village, the refugee quarter was called Badou camp. All refugee settlements, paired villages, new villages or real camps were invariably referred to as 'camps'. To some extent this was a way to distinguish the host population from the refugees, but the visibility of the relatively small proportion of refugees living in camps strongly shaped the image aid workers and government officials had of all the refugees. 'Putting all refugees in the same bag' obscured the fact that the coping mechanisms of the refugees and the degree of self-sufficiency achieved differed strongly between refugee communities.

The medical part of PARLS in Guinea concentrated on giving refugees access to health services and control of epidemics in the refugee-affected areas. Also food aid was a major aspect of PARLS, although only the assessment of the nutritional situation was carried out by the medical actors. The following chapters cover medical assistance for refugees. They describe in more detail food aid (Chapter 4), control of epidemics (Chapter 5) and health services for refugees (Chapter 6). Other aspects of PARLS, such as provision of shelter and drinking water, organisation of basic education, and assistance for income-generating activities, will not be covered.