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Palestinian Refugee Camps: From Shelter to Habitat

Rueff, Henri
Published in Refugee Survey Quarterly. 2009, vol. 28, no. 2-3, p. 339-359
Abstract Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA and their housing conditions are officially characterized by a “temporary status”, a situation which has lasted the past sixty years. This article explores this time-paradox by focusing on the host governments’ and UNRWA’s policies affecting the refugees’ housing conditions. After having reviewed available literature, this contribution analyses the current housing situation. Drawing on data from a recent survey, the authors provide insights on areas where intervention is needed. In all UNRWA’s fields of operation, overcrowding, lack of public spaces, humidity and structural defects are the main sources of housing discomfort that camp refugees endure. Host countries’ restrictions as well as the incapacity or unwillingness of larger urban municipalities to incorporate refugee camps in their master plans are among the main obstacles to the refugees’ housing development. Rehabilitation and self-help re-housing programs may offer substantial incentives for housing improvement. The success of such programs depends, among several factors, on the host governments’ good will to provide UNRWA with authorizations, financial support, and land, as well as on the capacity of involving the refugee communities in projects’ planning and implementation.
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RUEFF, Henri, VIARO, Mario Alain. Palestinian Refugee Camps: From Shelter to Habitat. In: Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2009, vol. 28, n° 2-3, p. 339-359.

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Deposited on : 2012-11-05

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