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Hosting refugees in the developing societies of Africa, Asia and Latin America is a liability. Discuss using case studies or case study.

Your essay should demonstrate that have acquired the learning outcomes of the module in term of factual knowledge, comprehension, conceptual clarity , explanation , presentation of well-structured and well developed logical argument, and high level of independent, imaginative, creative and critical thinking.

Refugees as a liability in the developing world

Today, there is a better chance that a war can ensue than rather than a peace agreement being initiated. All across the world tensions are rising each single day which only serves to increase misery, pain and hardship among those who end up being the victims. Markedly, all corners of the world have some kind of conflict involving two or more countries. While this can be pegged on the rise of nationalistic interests and the quest to have more sovereign recognition, it also indicates an arrogance on the part of some countries and specifically leaders who are at the center of it all. More so, the imbalance in the distribution of resources in most of the countries that conflicts have broken out points to the eventuality that has succumbed the victims.

The skyrocketing number of conflicts in the last two decades has created a huge number of refugees who are under very difficult life all across the world. Since this narrative does not indicate any chance of stopping, it puts the life of the refugees in danger as well as the hosting nations. Refugees in particular tend to be a big liability to the countries that play host to them. generally, a change in the normal set up in these countries has been witnessed under the influence of the refugees which then has go on to impact the social, political and economic lives of the people of the host countries. All this has come at the expense of peace and stability. In this regard, this essay tackles the key problem of refugees to the host country while taking into account case studies of refugees in different global locations. It majorly looks at how refugees are a menace as well as a liability to the country which has undertaken the risk to shoulder their burdens.

The influx of the refugees to the host country increases tensions and an imminent conflict between themselves and even the host country. This affects the peace and tranquility that has been present in the area. Mostly, it is even greater where the refugees represent a political minority in their government. However, despite the refugees being noncombatants who are not at all interested in the political and social landscape, it could still impact on the establishment prior to their arrival. A case involving the Kakuma refugee Camp in Kenya has seen ensuing tensions as the number of the refugees has been increasing (Kingsley 2016). Established in 1992 by the Kenyan government under the supervision of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Kakuma is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. It serves war victims in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and part of the displaced population in Kenya as well.

Economic impact of hosting refugees

Kenya has for a long time ended up bearing the brunt of hosting refugees because of the political implications it has had within the country as well as leading to strained relationship between itself and the neighboring countries that refuges are part of. Refugees in Kakuma have used this location to plot attack on their countries in a bid to seek revenge for the treatment they received from their countries particularly the regimes that came to power. While this specifically involves the refugees, it has also had a huge impact in Kenya particularly its strained relationship with Ethiopia and the larger Sudan (Cali et al 2015). Uganda too has been broiled in a conflict with Kenya before due to the refugee involvement with in their affairs. While Kenya is the host it is bound to experience such strained relationships because the bottom line is that the Kenyan government is unable to control the movement of the refugees.

The liability of the refugees to the host country can be looked at from the economic parameters. An influx of refugees has an impact of stifling economic growth because governments have spent more to cover their needs as well. An addition of labor cause a shock in the economy and particularly in the labor market. This implies, there is a fall in the real wages in the short run. For instance, in 1990-1992 there was a huge influx of Soviet Jewish refugees in Israel as a result of the satellite states breakout from the Russian Federation (Gold & Steven 2015). As a result, the refugees that entered Israel contributed to a massive 12% of the population. This clearly generated a huge conflict in pursuit of the scarce resources in the country. More so, an increased burden in the expenditure by the country in order to cover for the increase in the population resulted as well. The government expenditure has a biting effect in the economic growth and development. The high demand coupled with a small proportion of the supply meant that prices of basic commodities ballooned creating a mini-crisis in the economy. Furthermore, there was a general inflationary tendencies which was bound to wreak the economy even further.

While the economy of Israel has marginally improved, there are still traces of the same being reflected in the economy today, the huge unemployment that resulted created a huge government deficit because of a fall in the Gross Domestic Product. Furthermore, the lack of skilled labor in the coming population meant that the country had to dig deeper to create sustainability in the population in a bid to create jobs and train this magnanimous labor to fit into the ideals of the economic set up that was in place. Lastly, there was an apparent change in the structure both locally and nationally with regard to the political and social life. The introduction of more refugees to the country threatened to dislodge the cultural and social values since the refugees represented an overwhelming majority in the population. The disturbances brought to the social set up meant that conflicts were always likely to break out. This then threatened the peace and security that had been part of Israel for a long time (Leigh & Suha 2016). The outbreak of war in Gulf around the same period ignited the refugee quest to have the same level of regard as those who had stayed behind, the Israeli nationals. More cases of conflict breaking out was imminent as reflected by the breakaway sects that aligned with Palestine which continues to seek for recognition in the Middle East as a result.  In essence, while refugee hosting should be encouraged because of the quest to have space and room for all humanity, it also possess a huge threat to the establishment and the importance of cohesiveness in a country.

Political and social impact of hosting refugees

The economic impact of the refugees is more pronounced than any other impact on the host country. Primarily, refugees are motivated by the quest to establish a better living atmosphere in the country they hope to settle. This factors in economic aspects that are under threat from over population. A large scale influx of refugees therefore has a huge effect on the macro-economic aspects on the host country. Most of the impacts have an overwhelming influence on a correlated increase but still uncompensated on the public expenditure. It particularly centers on the maintenance and care of the general refugee population (Mabiso et al 2014). Malawi’s report concerning the impact that the refugees had on the national expenditure during the early and mid-1990s is alarming and shows the extent at which refugees can end up toppling down a relatively better performing and expanding economy. During this period, there was a significantly both direct and indirect expenditure on the refugees which ultimately affected the general scale of the Malawian government’s capital investment. Investment on infrastructure and social sectors suffered a huge downfall. Almost a decade before, the country had witnessed skyrocketing expenditure on the refugees which a hit an economic record high of close to US$9.5 million and US$ 8.4 million in 1988 and 1989 respectively. This was a huge expenditure considering that Malawi was one of the poorer countries in the world at the time. It was characterized by an underperforming economy which was not bound to attract substantial foreign investments. Consequently, the economy was pushed towards the doldrums as inflation rose coupled with high levels of unemployment because the country’s budget mostly concentrated on the recurrent expenditure which has absolutely no value in the long term stability in terms of investments to push it out of the menace that it was embroiled in.

The disruptive impact of the refugees to the economic stability can be visualized in terms of the programs that United Nations High Commission for Refugees has in many cases came up with in order to reconstruct the economies of most countries that bear the burden of the refugees. For instance, in 1992, the UNHCR had to come up with emergency assistance program that was designed to ensure that the development projects put in place took into account the needs of the nationals as well as those by the refugees (Laub & Khetam 2016). In order to ensure that a further strain in the available resources was not encountered, there were massive plans for substantial expansion of the water supply networks, clinics, hospitals, road networks. More so, there was a complete reforestation plans that specifically centered on the eventual alleviation of the environmental degradation of fuel wood reserves.

Cultural impact of hosting refugees

As the influx of the refugees rises, one of the most disturbed aspects of the host country is the environment. The balance in the ecosystem is completely ravaged because there is a higher level of competition for goods and services. As a result, since the environment is the primary provider, it has to absorb all the pressure that is subjected to. Pollution will be high as result of this. Water pollution for instance was on such a high scale that diseases that are influenced by insufficient food and water resulted. This eventuality stifles both the environmental aspect as well as the economic aspect. A case in study is the Kosovo refugees in both the Albania and Macedonia. The Kosovo refugees had a huge impact across six countries. It was so entrenched such that preliminary estimates indicated that the host country in particular had a budget allocation ranging in US $52-188 million according to IMF and World Bank (Desilver 2015). There was a huge strain on the available resources both social and economic. It meant that these infrastructure therefore needed a great intervention in terms of the financial assistance. For the case of Albania, a small country with a very small economy, a recommendation was declared to be effected immediately. It involved a complete revamping of the existing operations so that they are more responsive to the needs that arise from the refugee presence in particular (Feller 2005). More so, an official debt relief was also considered because of the dire need that was witnessed. While this declaration particularly centered on Albania and Macedonia, it also extended into the need to have additional funds implemented through quick-disbursements diversified to other countries, particularly the poor countries in order to avert the imminent threat that the host countries are under due to huge refugee influx.

Economically, the local influx of refugees has had a huge influence on the local sectors. Agriculture as the backbone of most of the world economies particularly in Africa, South America and many parts of Asia has seen a bigger impact on the back of refugee movement into the host countries. The movement of the Rwandese refugees into Tanzania following the Rwanda Genocide in 1994 led to an increase in the prices of agricultural goods (Felmeth et al 2016). For instance, there was a rice in the prices of beans, milk, cooking bananas among others while goods that were delivered as refugee assistance had a general reduction in the prices. For instance maize. Consequently, most of the Tanzanian farmers who had ventured into growing these goods benefited greatly as there was an increase in demand for the same agricultural products in their local markets. Generally, growing of these in demand goods in Tanzanian economy doubled between this periods. Production of beans and bananas rose quickly as the market demand kept on rising as refugees still sought for asylum. However, these benefits were downplayed by a fall in the price of maize in the market considering that it the staple food for both refugees and the hosts. A swelling market meant that local production for the same dwindled.


While mostly the economic aspects of the refugees’ liability presence garners most newspaper headlines, refugees also have a bigger social impact on the host countries. Essentially, the presence of refugees in the hosting countries has a bigger potential on the ethnic balance, the social conflict as well as delivery of social services. For instance, should there be traditional animosities that exists between the ethnic or cultural groups it may lead to a brewing conflict when another group becomes more so exposed to another that has particularly been forced into the refugee status. A good example is the late 1990s presence of the Kosovo-Albania refugees in Macedonia created ethnic tensions between Albanians and the Serbs. However, according to the UNHCR, there is a likelihood of a peaceful coexistence where all the communities come from the same ethnic group hence share the same linguistic and cultural characteristic with the existing population. However, tensions will basically emerge should they have different ethnic orientation because it puts a strain on the available resources. The clamor for the resources as well as the more competition puts tensions on the front door.

The presence of the refugees in the host country is a major cause of social problems such as gender-based dominance. Refugees come from different backgrounds which has a differing value on women. Mostly, women bear the brunt of refugee increase during war times. There is an increase of violence on women when refugees increase. Vulnerability of women to sexual violence particularly in the host country increases as the influx of refugees increases as a result. A clear example of this is reflected during the first three months of 2010 whereby cases of assault of women hit a record high of 1200 in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of the influx of refugees from the Central African Republic. Very high cases in the South and North Kivu provinces were reported. These two places were more than just the epicenter of constant violence involving the rebel groups but also witnessed a considerable increase in the number of the Internally displaced persons. Furthermore, the issues of gender-based violence have also been common in the host countries as a result of the quest for establishment of livelihood opportunities with regard to displacement (Oliver 2002). A high influx of refugees in the host country also causes restrictions on movement in situations involving breakout of violence. This affects the host’s normal day-to-day activities in the host country particularly with regard to economic aspects. It means access to food, water and other basic commodities becomes very difficult as a result. Social disorders, domestic violence and distress become a common occurrence as well. An example is in the context of Gaza and West Bank in which measures that restrict freedom of movement have been adopted in more than one occasion. This has particularly affected the opportunities for livelihood among men owing to the patriarchal nature of the society which calls upon men to be exclusive providers.

Refugees as well have a huge impact on the political and security front of the host country. First, a huge influx of the refugees leads to an expansion of the rebel networks as well as diffusion of violence (Bakewell 2007). Refugee camps that are located near the boundary of the country of origin have in most cases acted as the sanctuaries to rebel organizations particularly as bases that can be used to carry out operations and the fertile grounds for recruitment of militia. Furthermore, refugees may end up recruiting people from the host country which will destabilize peace and tranquility. For instance, Pakistan has for a long time been a hotbed of war as a result of more refugees from Afghanistan moving in. their resistance to the communist regime. The 1980s witnessed a drastic increase of confrontation between the Soviet Backers in Afghanistan and the Pakistan government (Kpozehousen et al 2016). This also created more shedding of blood as conditions that involved radicalization of sections of the population which eventually created more proliferation of arms. In the long run, it led to the weakening of the state authority. Also, the Rwandese war that involved the Tutsi and the Hutu led to an increase of refugees in Uganda. They ended up forming the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). These group then invaded Rwanda leading to an increase in the national tensions between Uganda and Rwandese governments (Codjoe et al 2013). Rwanda went on to accuse Uganda as being accommodative and lenient to rebel groups. As the tensions intensified, there was a further spilling of the war to Uganda which then created factions within the Ugandan population that either supported or opposed the rebels. As a result, Uganda was on the brink of a civil war.

Refugees create conditions that facilitate transnational spreading of arms, combatants and most absurdly, the ideologies that are conducive to conflict. A good example is the direct involvement of Palestine Liberation Organization which was composed of a government in exile that was created by the refugees from Palestine. These group caused terror and have a direct participation in wars in Lebanon in 1975 as well as Jordan in 1970 (Bayoomy 2010). Furthermore, the recruitment of the Liberian refugees by the Sierra Leone insurgent movements caused a huge destabilization coupled with violent conflicts in 1990s. Refugees have also been participant in the domestic groups in the host country with regard to the material resources especially with the motivation to wage their own armed battles. The case of Somali refugees in the Ogaden region in Ethiopia has particularly been involving a concerted alliance with the Somali separatists which has then seen a huge destabilization of peace in Ethiopia (Heeren et al 2014). It also threatened an outbreak of a civil war in Ethiopia as the activities of the refugees intensified in the host country. More so, they also teamed up with the locals in a bid to further cause more instability in Ethiopia since they are well aware of the system.

The presence of the refugees in the host country has the major cause of bilateral tensions. When refugees pose a major political and security threat to the host country, it basically creates a lot of tensions with regard to the bilateral relations. The case of Sri Lanka particularly the Tamil refugees has been a major cause of tensions between India and Sri Lanka. Their involvement in the 1991 assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. They particularly blamed his perceived accommodation of the government of Sri Lanka (Cookson et al 2015).  Another common example is the involvement of the Rwandese refugees in the eventual event that led to the removal of then President Milton Obote’s administration in 1985. This also increased tensions among the two countries as well.

While most focus is put on the political, economic and social negative effects on the host country, the impact on the environment is the most profound and widespread and threatens to dampen all the efforts put in place to overcome the problem. Overpopulation due to a huge influx of the refugees puts more pressure on the ecosystem balance that is in place. When the environment is under immense pressure it fails to support the high number of people that depend on it (Cortes 2004). Furthermore, environmental impacts are mostly associated with the type of settlements that refugees use especially with regard to the high concentration in large camps. Most refugees have camps that are overpopulated. Specifically, the impact of refugees on the environment can be looked at in the following ways.

 First, deforestation and firewood depletion. Since most refugee’s camps are located in far off town places, it means they have to use informal ways of cooking which will involve the use of firewood. More so, refugees are generally poor and so have to use very fire wood as well. Overdependence on this leads to massive felling of trees. The high number of refugees from the Central African Republic contributed to massive deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, at least 5% of the Congo was destroyed during the mid-1990s. As a result, there was a further confrontation between the Congolese governments with the Central African Republic (Nawyn 2015). More so, an increase in the deforestation attracted private investors who took advantage on the situation to further their interests as a whole.

Western powers were then accused of destabilizing the refugee’s presence in these areas by siding with either side to continue their exploitation of resources in the greater Congo region. Refugees do not only have a negative impact on the environment but environmental degradation as a result of their pressure on it has an adverse impact on the refugees as well. As aforementioned, dependence on firewood and which means cutting down trees means that women and small children have to travel longer distances to access it. This further predisposes them to assault. It may also result to illnesses because of the low quality of food that they may end up consuming.

The presence of the refugees on the host country has also been the reason for an outbreak of disease in the host country that is related to the unhygienic conditions. A high influx of refugees makes accessibility to water services very difficult. In Daadab refugee camp in Kenya, there has been an outbreak of Cholera, Bilharzia and Typhoid. It has extended to most parts of the population. The government of Kenya has for a long time increased its expenditure on extending treatment of these diseases (Dokter 1998). This means that the government has to dig deep into its spending at the expense of improving the living standards of its people. In essence, the arrival of the refugees alter the extent to which the local population is able to get access to services, both public and private (Dyke 2014). However, reversing the negative impact of the environment on the country involves a huge capital outlay which will still mean that the governments have to spend huge amounts that would otherwise have been used to expand facilities. The native citizens are unable to have proper service extension because of the inclusiveness approach that the host governments often adopt in the quest to have refugees adapt to the new surroundings.

It is basically difficult to initiative a uniform response to the needs of the refugees. Today, a country like Lebanon according to Jarmuzek, Najla & Francisco (2014) is forced to welcome 11000-15000 refugees from Syria every week. As a result, accommodation facilities are not able to sustain such huge increase in the refugee numbers. Instead, there are more temporary shelters and settlements (Isquith 2015). The situation is even made worse because the informal settlements have set up in the Lebanese flood zones where there a further vulnerability to water borne diseases as well as malaria which is common in most forested areas. The fact that most refugee camps are located in such areas, it makes it easier for the spread of such diseases. The Lebanon Environmental Assessment of the Syrian conflict indicates that there had been an increase of up to 15% in the amount of solid waste due to the general influx of the Syrian refugees (Jordan 2016). As a result, there was a further increase in the pollution of surface as well as ground water. The situation in Lebanon as a result of the Syrian crisis has led to an increase in the diseases such as diarrhea.  

Humanitarian agencies have consistently reported that the poor water quality has particularly affected the livelihood of the natives that has indicated a rise in the bacteriological levels. It has then contributed to such high numbers (Karasapan 2016). Furthermore, the human effects also indicate that untreated wastewater has a negative effect on the wildlife population as well as fish since it depletes it of oxygen. During the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a huge influx on the refugees in Uganda led to a lot of pressure on the water bodies particularly Lake Victoria. The shows of Lake Victoria witnessed massive overfishing which contributed as the cost of basic foods rose very high.

An influx of refugees has further led to exacerbated water shortage. With over 636000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, there has been a reported strain on the water resources. According to a report from the US News and World Report, a huge influx of refugees led to Jordan having to incur close to $2.4 billion due to a strain on the country’s limited water supply (Harley 2014). The BBC even reported that the situation got so off hand in that Jordanians accused Syrians of not taking any measures to ensure they conduct water conservation. It created tensions between the two factions of people; the Syrian refugees and the Jordanians.

Refugees are a big threat to hosts because as the numbers rise, the exclusive rights of the hosts are further decimated making them almost equal. As a result, it creates hatred and animosity which could further be a full blown war.  For instance, following the influx of the Rwandese and Burundian refugees in Tanzania in mid 1990s, the Tanzanian government played a generous host by allowing the refugees access to educational facilities, employment opportunities (Campbell 2014). They all had an equal opportunity with the nationals. However, as the numbers further increased, the Tanzanian government had to backtrack on its earlier policy of having equal opportunities for both the refugees and the nationals because apparently, the hosts were losing more as the refugees motivated by their uncertainty ended up being more aggressive. Consequently, they grabbed the few opportunities for themselves. The hosts would not do particular jobs by virtue of being the natives, it meant that Tanzania were the eventual losers. During this time, refugees almost hit one million down from 120,000 a couple of years before ((Renzaho & Vijnjevic 2011). More so, the intense completion that was witnessed due to the high number refugees necessitated the Tanzanian government to set up 12 different refugee camps across all parts of Western Tanzania. This chiefly done to contain the kind of competition that had been witnessed between the nationals and the refugees.

Health care is another sector that is under immense pressure from the influx of the refugees with specific emphasis on the provision of services. The health care system of the host country has been in most cases bore the brunt of refugee trouble. There is a strain on the service provision because the health care system is not designed to handle an excess number of people (Graham 2015). When the capacity is increased, it means that the quality is affected. The medical department is therefore unable to cover the additional number of people and as a result, two things will mostly come to pass. First, the government will have to increase the capacity which comes at a huge cost or secondly, ignoring the plight of the refugees. However, the inclusiveness policy that has been advocated for by the government means that expansion of these facilities has to be undertaken much at the expense of other very pressing national issues. In this case, it is the nationals who will instead lose out in resource allocation because basically, the refugee concerns replace the national interests.

 Primarily, refugees are often victims of physical injuries due to the constant occurrence of conflicts, there could also be the presence of injuries that are sustained in the process of fleeing as well as the damaging presence of living in a very unkind and unstable environment. Most of these problems end up being so much pronounced even after the refugees have moved to their new location (Feller 2005). Even so, their country of resettlement will have to bear all these health concerns. This will constitute an additional expense.

 A greater negative influence that a huge overpopulation of refugees has on the native population is its effect on the road network. Roads in the host countries in most cases may end up being deteriorated as a result due to their increased reliance for transport of food and other vital services such as medication. In this case, other services may also be heavily impacted as a result. A good example of this effect is reflected in the Pakistan and Iran because they have continued to host more Afghanistan refugees. For example, in Pakistan, the million refugees have contributed to an accelerated wear and tear of canals and roads. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of fodder and fuel resources (Shelly 2002). In the same country, the influx of refugees has been the precursor to the increase in the demand for wood resources. Markedly, wood is vital for construction of tents in the camps which are then converted into villages and more so, the need for roofing puts more pressure on these resources as well. In Iran, since most families are livestock keeper, they then opted to bring them along as they moved. They then proceeded to graze around the camps adding another perennial problem of overgrazing and the resultant acceleration of soil erosion. Overexploitation of the fuel and fodder poses a huge threat to the eventual capacity of the environment for renewal of its own groundwater resources.


In summary, the host countries have to bear the burden of the refugee influx. They come with scores of problems which then has an extensive influence on the overall national population. The problems in question can be looked at from a social, political, economic and environmental perspective. Socially, refugees pose a huge threat on the established wellbeing because they ignite the society with ills such as theft, murder and a high number of crime rates results from an increase in the number of refugees. These problems will majorly have downturn on the stability that has been established within the society. The economic aspect involves inflationary tendencies due to the high demand for the resources in the host country. Land, medical care, water and housing are likely to experience a further increase in the prices. This has a tendency of increasing the cost of life among the host population in as much as it does the same on the refugees. Politically, refugees as shown by the case studies may have opposing views on the host country or their own country which may lead to military confrontation between the countries involved. While refugees are perceived as a liability to the host countries, policies should be put in place to ensure that the liabilities can be transformed into benefits for nationals and the refugees. In the end, both parties will realize the benefit which will reduce the tendency for animosity and conflict with the host country.


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