In my previous article, I talked about problems with refugees in host countries. In this one, I will give examples of other problems. Unfortunately in Turkey, probably in Europe too, we are faced with “new” illnesses like malaria, childhood paralysis, tuberculosis, measles, typhoid, brucellosis and migraines. These diseases were eradicated years ago, but now we have them again in overcrowded refugee camps which lack hygiene and clean water (1). Unfortunately, according to official sources, some refugees refuse to be vaccinated (2). They doubt the quality of the host country’s health system or may decline to get vaccinated, citing fear of causing autism in their kids. Moreover, communication is limited in refugee camps, and there may be no place for children to get an education or to conduct religious rituals. Regretfully, some unimmunised refugees with infections get the chance to live in city centres after being released from refugee camps. As I wrote earlier, there are many ways to get illnesses already (3). Not surprisingly, one can easily guess what could happen when these refugees mingle with local people. Individuals who are unable to protect themselves from illnesses, especially students at schools, can quickly acquire a new disease, which they have not been immunised against from refugee kids. Infected children pass on diseases to family, family to other people. Before long, an epidemic may break out. Another problem concerns ecosystems and environments in host countries (4). These camps can be big or small, depending on how many people the state accepts. First of all, water sources are getting dirtier and decreasing. Other problems are soil erosion and deforestation. Environmental and health concerns relate to each other in camps. In city centres, local people think that some refugees are careless and don’t make an effort to protect the environment. Another problem occurs in streets after refugees move to Turkey or Europe – begging for money! Some refugees do so, but some local poor people use this issue for their benefit (5). Moreover, just to make money from hopeless people, other unscrupulous opportunists are deceiving refugees about taking them from Turkey to Europe, thousands of them losing their lives at sea (6). Remember the tragedy of Aylan Kurdi? In summary, I just wanted to draw your attention to the refugee crisis from both sides: with refugee eyes and local eyes. Admittedly, I have just touched the surface of a complex issue. If you are interested in learning more, there are many other problems I can bring to your attention. Again let’s hope that conflicts and wars end and people get to return to their homes.
Written by Oguz Yilmazlar