The European Response
During the last few months, the media has shown us stories and images of Syrian refugees who had no choice but to leave their homes behind to survive. To stay in their country means risking their life day after day, assuming that there is no future for them. Fathers, mothers and children of all ages are escaping from a country drowned by chaos, devastated by a civil war that stretches on. Syrians have thousands of reasons to flee across borders.
Making the leap into Europe is only another stage in the humanitarian drama of refugees. According to UNHCR, from the beginning of the war, over 3 million people have abandoned their homes looking for protection in neighbouring countries like Lebanon (1.170.000 people), Jordan (612.000), Iraq (217.000), Turkey (832.000) and Egypt (138.000). Inside the country, over 6.5 million Syrians remain displaced, with the war claiming 200.000 lives and wounding 850.000.
Moreover, cities like Yarmuk, Alepo, Kobane and Malula have been partially or totally destroyed, leaving the population with no safe place to take shelter. As if this were not enough, ISIS is systematically destroying Intangible Heritage of Humanitymasterpieces like Palmira ruins, with its wonderful roman columns, and the Asirian statues of Nimrud. An irreversible loss.
Upon the arrival of thousands of refugees a day, the European response is being,to say at least, unstructured. Having reached the Greek coast (those who have been able to)and with almost no strength left, refugees start a new odyssey to reach destinations under better political, social, and economical circumstances. Some of them are fortunate of having a relative living in the Union, but most of the refugees walk blindly with the certitude that whatever is waiting for them, it will not be worse than what they left behind. But first, they must overcome the barriers built by some Europeans states acting like if they didn’t sign the Schengen Agreement.
Fortunately, European citizenship reaction is being noteworthy, they are guiding governments through the responsibility of receiving these thousands of refugees running from barbarism. Some city councils, associations and families are already offering a first aid response. Nevertheless, this is a situation that will probably lengthen in time, a reason why institutions should search for permanent accommodations to enable the right integration of immigrants in the different countries of the EU.
In cities like Berlin, residential blocks are being implemented using container houses, in order to give a first response to face the humanitarian crisis, a response that is not enough to accommodate families for a longer period. Together with the remnant of social housing, new generation pre engineered buildings will have to play a relevant role by the time of creating new urban settlements rapidly, without compromising comfort and habitability conditions.
It is said that Europe will receive this year, about 450.000 refugees, a figure that will be increased in 2016 for sure. Let us hope that as soon as possible, those who still want to return, have the chance to go back to their country and recover their lives, but in the meantime, the EU will have to implement workable strategies for everyone’s cohabitation.
From CIDARK, we work on pre engineered housing solutions, comfortable and adapted to the needs of the families, houses where refugees would be able to restart their life projects and recover their smiles.