- Why should there be refugees? What are those people?
- Wars and readjustment of frontiers.
- Religous and national differences.
- Nationality is becoming the greatest problem.
When there are wars and a country is invaded, the inhabitants often flee before the invaders to another part of the country where their own national are still in possession, and where they think that safety is to be found. After wars, large areas sometimes change owners, passing from one nation to another. The dwellers in those parts move out, or a re forced out, again in the effort to stay in the land owned by their own nation. Others fly from a country where their political views are into allowed, and where they are suspected by harsh rulers, of being politically dangerous. For one reason or another, great bodies of men and women have found it necessary to leave their homes and move elsewhere, without prospects of work or support in the irnew lands. Such people, in search of refuge, are called refugees. There are millions of them in western Europe, where they are called “dispossessed person.” There are Poles, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, living in other lands and not daring or not able to go back to their own. There are Muslims who have left India and Hindus who have fled from Indian territory, all living in camps and constituting a charge on the resources of the country to which they have fled.
This upsets the economy of a district which is suddenly invaded by thousands of hoemless persons. There is not enough food for so many extra mouths, there is not enough accommodation to house them. When they form rough and ready cam of their own, there is little they can do but beg in the surrounding districts. They are insanitary in their habits, because they have no proper latrines and conveniences, and they pollute the streams and the land about their camps. Thus they become a danger to the health of the people around them, and are a source of epidemic disease. That is why governments, both in east and west, have been forced to meet this problem by setting up regular camps for the accommodation of refugees.
The refugee camps are usually under the control and supervis on of a government department. There is a system of rationing, and enough food is issued to them daily to ensure that they will have simple but adequate meals. Proper compensation is setup, with latrines and bathing places, and so health is safeguarded. With the refugees in fixed camps like this, medical supervision can be arranged for them, and disease prevented. Moreover, they can be examined to see whether any of them can be absorbed into industry or other employment, and in the event of any friendly arrangement being reached with the country from which they have come, they can be sent back there, or given the compensation which may have been awarded them.
This system is a charge which governments are feeling keenly. It is an example of what the poet Burns described as “Man’s in humanity to Man.” But it is the best solution possible to what is a great post-war problem. It may not be a happy solution in the eyes of the refugees, who often expect too much. But it prevents them from becoming wandering beggars, and checks the spread of lawlessness and disease.
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