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The refugee camp management: a general framework and a unifying decision-making model

Ozlem Karsu (Bilkent Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey)
Bahar Y. Kara (Bilkent Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey)
Bayram Selvi (Turk Kizilayi, Ankara, Turkey)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 10 May 2019

Issue publication date: 18 October 2019




Motivated by the increasing need to provide support to refugees, which remains as a pressing issue in the agenda of many countries, the purpose of this paper is to consider the refugee camp management problem. Although each of these countries may have different procedures shaped by their own culture, rules and regulations, the main structure of the problem can be modeled utilizing a general framework which will apply to different practices.


In this study, the authors consider the issue with an operations research (OR) perspective and provide such a framework utilizing Turkish Red Crescent (TRC)’s field expertise in many regions of the world. In the proposed framework, the overall refugee camp management problem is first categorized in two main phases: the establishment phase, which consists of one-time decisions like infrastructure design and the administration phase, which focuses on routine decisions that are taken on a periodic basis like aid distribution.


The authors then provide a unifying decision-making model for the establishment phase and detail the administrative phase via subcategories, linking the relevant problems to the OR literature. The proposed framework is general enough to be used by practitioners and to be utilized by the academicians to define new OR problems to the literature.


TRC’s know-how is very broad and extensive. Integrating that know-how with OR perspective, the authors provide a general framework that could be of use to practitioners as well as academicians. The proposed framework will constitute an example for countries of asylum and national or international NGOs to manage the refugee camps efficiently. The authors also highlight main challenges and dynamics of the decision-making problems encountered in different parts of the proposed framework, which may constitute many different problems to the OR literature each of which can open new venues for future research.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees who have contributed in the further development of this manuscript by their suggestions and comments.


Karsu, O., Kara, B.Y. and Selvi, B. (2019), "The refugee camp management: a general framework and a unifying decision-making model", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 131-150.



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