Providing Shelter, Understanding Culture, and Anticipating Needs of the Displaced
Violent conflicts throughout the world dominate today’s news reports. Everywhere bloody clashes are disrupting lives and producing refugees. Compounding the problem are simultaneous natural disasters that also destroy homes and disrupt lives. Some of the refugees cross national borders and become wards of major international governmental and non-governmental organizations. Other refugees are dislocated within their own countries and become major problems for local governments. Problems of assisting refugees are always difficult, but they are exacerbated when, as often happens, refugees come from diverse ethnic groups with widely differing needs. This case study from Zamboanga City in the Philippines illustrates both the general problem of assisting refugees and the more challenging problem of assisting multi-ethnic groups of refugees.
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