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According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, over the two first months of the year already 11,900 refugees and migrants entered Europe. They arrived to Greece (24.37%), Italy (44.54%), Spain (31.09%) and Cyprus (0.1%).

These countries registered 3,774,000 new asylum applications since 2,015, as Eurostat statistics confirmed. Although 2,017 there were requested half of the previous year asylum applications, there is no reason to think that there are a discernible turning point.

In 2,017 six countries in Europe received 78% of the submissions for resettlement: United Kingdom (24%), Sweden (15%), France (13%), Germany (10%), Norway (8%) and the Netherlands (8%). However, 90% of admitted refugees were Syrians. Only Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom have resettled significant numbers of other nationalities of refugees.

Refugees resettlement

In September 2,015 the EU agreed a two-year plan to relocate asylum-seekers from Greece (66,400 people) and Italy (39,600 people) to EU State Members. When the reallocation deadline expired just two member states, Malta and Finland, have met their resettling obligations under the relocation scheme. The number of asylum seekers and migrants resettled across Europe is nowadays above 31.8% of the prearranged target. Last published data from the European Commission says above 33,700 refugees and migrants have been relocated, 21,730 coming from Greece and 11,940 from Italy.

Beneath the infringement of this agreement, it lies something bigger at its core: in one hand, a complete lack of solidarity; in the other, a discourse relating safety, migration and terrorism. Although it was mandatory, most of the European countries preferred to infringe the rules and to pay a substantial penalty sums rather to give shelter to needed people. If Europe will give shelter to half of the Syrian population, it will suppose a net demographic increase of 2%. Meanwhile in smaller and poorer countries such as Lebanon, 25% of its population are refugees.

Not even to receive €6,000 per relocated person on their territory encouraged EU State Members to open their doors to asylum seekers and migrants. To make matters worse, the European Commission did not imposed any kind of punishment to those countries that did not accomplished its part of the deal. When the agreement expired, no one had to host refugees and migrants.

The EU- Turkey deal exacerbated the problem. In return of €6,000 million Turkey act as a dyke for migration flows from the Mediterranean area. Frontex deport to the Turkish coasts all those asylum seekers that have been denied in Greece. This agreement encouraged some EU State Members to break their promise to resettle refugees and migrants. If they can stay in Turkey, where is the need to hold them?

Refugee camps

By February 2,018, above 3.9 million refugees and asylum seekers are stuck in Turkey. Greece has also millions of people piled in its coasts. There is no appropriate allocation shelter for such amount of new arrived people.

Most of them await on vastly overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary camps that were conceived for temporary dwelling. Containers and tents surrounded by rubbish mounds corner the market. Women and children face heightened risk of sexual violence. Refugee camps are unsafe and unsanitary. Even the Greek migration minister has warned they could be life threatening. However, most of refugees remain over the south European camps until the complex and long-lasting process of asylum processes provides them reallocation options.

Next steps

To solve what is happening in the Mediterranean coasts should include a new political viewpoint. Since an unequivocal solution is far from being possible nowadays, further steps should be done at local scale.

Asylum seekers and migrants deserve to be treated according to human rights standards. For this reason, refugee camps should drastically improve in terms of density, healthiness, comfort, and security.

The only clear solution to address present and future housing emergencies is the combination of speed in action, planning of those spaces, efficient sanitation and drinking water systems, and durability of the used building materials.

CAPLE can provide a clear solution to address this dwelling emergency. It delivers self-sufficient, healthy, and durable houses easy and rapid to ensemble with a pre-defined urban layout of streets. It is also feasible for the creation of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

CAPLE is a socially commited brand that will keep working to answer present and future housing needs.

by Laia Mojica