Driven from their homes by conflict, persecution, environmental calamity, or dire economic straits, refugees are people who have been deprived of their statehood, material possessions, and in many cases, their loved ones. They seek solace in purpose-built refugee camps and unplanned settlements, where they wait out their displacement, or attempt to begin life anew. Refugee camps are temporary facilities created to house and assist people who have been forced to leave their homes due to different types of violence and calamities they faced.
The camps are not intended to offer long-term solutions but they provide people with food, water, medical care, and other vital services. However, many have grown and developed into fully fledged cities, replete with vibrant economies, systems of governance, and civic institutions. Refugee camps are monuments to human suffering, and the sheer size of these settlements testifies to the severity of forced displacement around the world. Living in massive refugee camps may be difficult due to overcrowding, and lack of the necessary infrastructure and resources to sustain those people.
Yet, large refugee camps can give a feeling of community and support to refugees who have lost their homes and are attempting to rebuild their lives despite the obstacles that they provide. The settlements are also spaces of hope and optimism: for many inhabitants, these camps represent a stepping stone on the path to safety and prosperity. Refugees stay between 10 and 15 years at a refugee camp but the duration can differ greatly depending on a number of variables, including the reason for displacement and the extent of conflict in the area.
Here are the top 10 biggest refugee camps in the world.