South Sudan Nuba refugees. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Refugees: The refugee problem

  • Between 1963-1979 nationalist movements waged a war of liberation in Zimbabwe, which caused a lot of hardships for the population
  • The intensification of the political oppression and persecution in the country forced many people to flee the country into other neighboring countries as refugees
  • In recent years civil across Africa in countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, the DRC, Congo and Somalia have led to floods of refugees fleeing conflict into neighboring countries
  • The rise of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS (sometimes known as ISIL or Daesh), Al Shebab, The Lord’s Resistant Army has also led to displacement of people
  • Enthnic violence such as in South Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa has also led to some enthic groups becoming ¬†internal refugees in their countries
  • The establishment of the refugee camps is meant to stop the refugees from roaming about and causing conflicts in the host country
  • It is also meant to organize them so that they can be fed, clothed, get shelter, be trained and educated as well as engaging them in productive activities
  • Although refugee camps offer protection this might not always be the case as can be seen by the Zimbabwean refugees at Chimoio and Nyadzonya in Mozambique who were attacked by the Rhodesian soldiers
  • Or the constant onslaught of attacks by Al Shabab on Kenyan refugees
  • Refugees cause a lot of problems in the host country as their movement is not carefully planned and controlled
  • Most of them are unskilled and thus have little to offer to the host country
  • As the refugees migrate in large numbers this puts a lot of strain on the resources of the host country
  • For example land, water and food.
  • This may further cause conflicts with the host communities.
  • For example Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Zambia, the United States and Germany are on the rise against refugees
  • Refugees can also put pressure on social services such as education, health and transport thus depriving the host communities of these services
  • They can also cause deforestation as they clear land to stay, fetch firewood, source of building materials for shelter
  • Some may engage into prostitution and theft as they try to make a living
  • Refugee camps can be a source of communicable diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
  • Refugees may be a source of unrest in the host country as enemies pose as refugees and use the refugee camps as their military base
  • Although there is little proof refugees are often blamed for causing terrorist attacks on the host countries e.g. The United States government often blames terror attacks on refugees and have used it as a pretext to pass divisive immigration laws
  • They also strain the host government budget as it tries to look after them
  • They may also sour relations between the source country and the host country for example Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) with Mozambique during the liberation war

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page