Disaster Research Unit (DRU)
Branch office of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
As it became apparent in the summer of 2015 that a heretofore unforeseen number of refugees would seek refuge in Germany, governmental agencies, communes, and especially the organizations of disaster management and civil protection (Katastrophenschutz) were called upon to ensure care and support for the refugees. With the activation of these structures (without in fact catastrophe alert being issued), the topic became relevant to the fields of catastrophe research and the organizations of civil protection. The long-term nature of the care situation and the extremely heterogeneous needs of the people in need of support allow for insights relevant for and applicable to “traditional” disaster management as well.
This project is based on quick response research; early on during the project, experts from the field of disaster management that were, or still are, actively working on refugee care in emergency accommodations, were interviewed. Within the confines of a commissioned study in partnership with the German red cross, the needs and different levels of self-help potential of refugees in one emergency accommodation in Berlin was then studied, and workshops for and with organizations in charge of disaster management were held.
The insights gained through the project have been made available to aid organizations in order to help improve the care situation. Furthermore, they serve as a valuable basis for the evaluation and analysis of the new long-term challenges that disaster management and civil protection will face in the future. The scenario “care of refugees in emergency accommodations” therefore offers important insights for traditional disaster management operations.