Are refugee camps safe?
Residents of Palestinian refugee camps face staggering rates of joblessness, violence and disgraceful housing conditions. They often refer to themselves as “forgotten people” and feel a sense of isolation and neglect. For most, comfort and privacy are elusive luxuries. Young Palestinians have few prospects for finding a job or leading a fulfilling life.
The original refugee camps were a sea of canvas tents. Today many are a concrete labyrinth hiding social outcasts, hundreds and thousands of refugees, from view. Suspended above the alleyways are a web spun of wires, cables and water pipes – a hazardous and often deadly playground for refugee children to play in.
A poor learning environment, lack of sanitation, limited access to food and swelling class sizes have increased dropout rates in schools to 18 percent. Intense clashes between factions and groups of men are frequent and bystanders are caught up in the violence. Often the schools have to be closed compounding the efforts to provide any sort of education.
The camps are considered the most dangerous places in Lebanon and Jordan, and their inhabitants feel increasingly incarcerated and abandoned.
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