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Justice Institute of British Columbia, School of Public Safety
New immigrants and refugees struggle with many challenges during their settlement in a new country of residence. Often, such challenges include becoming acquainted with a foreign country’s customs, cultures, official language, and overall environment. For some, they must also struggle with mental health issues after suffering trauma in their homeland. With so many challenges being faced on a daily basis, settling in can take several months, if not years. If dealing with the stress and anxiety of settling into a new home in a new land is not stressful enough, add to that the trauma experienced for those that must also deal with disaster recovery. During this phase of a disaster event, new immigrants and refugees will experience many barriers that create a slowed recovery period and increased anxiety level. The three main categories under which barriers can be classified include financial barriers, cultural and linguistic barriers, and mental health barriers. These barriers will not only significantly hinder the recovery process for new immigrants and refugees, but also place extra stresses on themselves and their families, as well as create an extended burden and strain upon available recovery resources (e.g., charitable, service, and government organizations). These barriers will also slow the community’s recovery overall. To that end, this paper examines those barriers, as well as solutions or recommendations to alleviate them, so that emergency managers can implement workable strategies and solutions into disaster recovery plans.
disaster recovery; immigrants; refugees; cultural barriers; language barriers
Bachelor of Emergency and Security Management Studies (BESMS)
Winner of the 2017 Student Capstone Applied Research Day Poster Award of $250 (funded by The JIBC Foundation)