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Refugee Healthcare Phases


At this moment, UNHCR estimates more than 63 million people are uprooted – more than at any time since WWII. In step with such mobilization, general aid and healthcare for refugees is becoming progressively more pressing, too.


Understanding the Refugee Emergency Phases is especially useful for those like us committed to their welfare:

  • Pre-Emergency Phase – Time for intervention, negotiation, mitigation, and preparation for emergency
  • Emergency Phase – Where refugee death rates rise to 5–60 times higher than normal, and provision of shelter, food, water, basic health and prevention of epidemic diseases (like cholera) is lifesaving.
  • Post-Emergency Maintenance Phase – May last for months to years, and requires ongoing Emergency Phase care, plus security, education, occupations and more mature medical services.
  • Resolution Phase – Voluntary return to home of origin (Repatriation) is always most desirable. Other options include integration in the nation of refuge and resettlement in a third country, the most difficult of all.


Refugee healthcare is challenge of truly biblical proportion, and the biblical principle of response endures today: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God – Leviticus 19:33-34


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