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THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF WAREHOUSING REFUGEES: A Case Study of Liberian Refugees at the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana

Jenkins Macedo, BSc., 
Chief Investigator

An Undergraduate 
Research Thesis in Geography

Dr. Stephen Healy, Ph.D., 
Department of Physical and Natural Sciences
Worcester State University



Much of the literature on refugee warehousing and their impacts on the host country’s environment assumes that refugees are exceptional resource degraders. The dominant conceptualization of refugees’ impacts on the host country’s environment treats refugees as actors with destructive behaviors rather than seeing the degradation as a result of inappropriate government policies, inefficient humanitarian assistance, and the lack of effective plan by host countries to foster durable solution. This study challenged these assumptions through the use of a questionnaire directed at refugees at the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. The questionnaires concern the patterns of environmental resources use among refugees and was analyzed using SPSS version 17 to run regression and correlation tests for items pertaining to resource use with those pertaining to environmental degradation. We hypothesized that warehousing refugees in camps significantly influenced their impacts on the local environment of the host country. We also hypothesized that warehousing of refugees has a significant relationship with their inability to locally integrate in the host county. The result suggests that warehousing of refugees in camps (M= 2.55; SD = 0.969) significantly influence (F (2, 288) = 37. 687, P Value = (0.000)) the relationship between resource use (Agricultural activities M = 1.42; SD = 0.495 and firewood use M = 1.60; SD = 0.490) and environmental degradation. The evidence also indicates that there is a significant positive relationship (R (303) = 0.121, P Value of (0.036), Alpha (0.05) between warehousing refugees in organized camps (M = 2.58, SD = 0.975) and their inability to locally integrate in the host country (M = 1.88, SD = 0.839).

Key Words: Refugee Warehouse, Refugees, Environmental Degradation, Buduburam Refugee Camp


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