The story of refugees – Misery that follows conflict and flight

Millions of people fled their homes in 2012. The reasons differed – people escaping violence or the collapse of their societies, gathering in makeshift camps, disused buildings, in the desert, the bush or the city – but most have had one thing in common. The assistance they received was minimal. 

Mbera camp, Mauritania

Mohamed and his family, sit among other refugee families who are also fleeing violence around northern Mali and have arrived days ago at the Mbera refugee camp in neighbouring Mauritania. © Lynsey ADDARIO/VII

Dadaab camp, Kenya 

Many refugee camps are in very poor condition. Refugees who arrive empty-handed, exhausted and under extreme stress, have to survive with a bare minimum of assistance, or nothing at all. 
Extreme overcrowding at the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, has meant that thousands of new arrivals from Somalia have had to set up makeshift shelters. © Lynsey ADDARIO/VII

Batil camp, South Sudan 

Refugees are often hungry when they arrive, if not malnourished. But food supplies have been inadequate in places supposed to offer safety. Hence nutrition care is often a focus of MSF activities in refugee camps.
This mother holds her severely malnourished daughter in MSF’s intensive therapeutic feeding centre in Batil refugee camp in South Sudan, where the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children is 10.1 percent, five times above the emergency threshold. ©Nichole SOBECKI/MSF

Rakhine, Myanmar 

Tens of thousands of people displaced by inter-communal violence in Rakhine ended up living in makeshift camps. As in many refugee settings, both the quantity and quality of water are a problem, increasing the risk of disease. ©Kaung HTET/MSF

Tripoli, Lebanon 

For Syrian refugees facing a harsh winter in 2012, little was provided to protect them from the cold. These two Syrian refugee boys are tending a fire in their ramshackle home in Lebanon. ©Michael GOLDFARB/MSF

Doro camp, South Sudan 

Malnutrition weakens children’s immunity and leaves them exposed to a full range of other diseases, including malaria. An MSF medical worker is treating a child admitted to the field hospital in Doro camp with severe malaria. ©Florian LEMS/MSF

Dadaab camp, Kenya 

Somali refugees have been living in the camps around Dadaab since 1991, yet providing adequate assistance remains a major challenge. Originally designed to accommodate 90,000 refugees, close to half a million people are now living in and around the Dadaab camps. ©Robin HAMMOND/Panos Pictures


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