Ethical Considerations for Living in Temporary Shelters (i.e., camps) Following a Natural Disaster

Document Type: RESEARCH PAPER

Authors

1 Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran

2 Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Neurosurgery, Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Cancer Research Center, Cancer Institute, Imam Khomeini Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Health in Emergency and Disaster, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

7 Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Background: Some disasters, such as earthquake and flood make the majority of affected people homeless. The
accommodation of these people in temporary shelters and camps requires some specific ethical issues. The aim of the
present study was to discuss ethical issues regarding living in camps following natural disasters.
Methods: This study is conducted utilizinga qualitative content analysis approach. The required data were collected
from four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Subsequently, 11 in-depth interviews were completed using the individuals
who had the experience of receiving care following natural disasters and continued until data saturation. Data were
analyzed using Graham content analysis method.
Results: According to the results obtained from affected people’s views, the most important ethical issues that are not
considered important in temporary shelters and camps include:1) the violation of privacy,2) the shortage of basic needs
(e.g., food, water, and sanitation) and type and quality of services rendered,3) lack of attention to cultural and religious
views of the affected people, 4) cause of evacuation, 5)lack of co-operation among disaster managers, 6)respecting the
properties of the affected people, 7)conditions and geographic location of camps, 8)property care, and 9)communitybased
care.
Conclusion: Without paying attention to ethical issues, living in temporary shelters (i.e., camps) violates the dignity of
affected people and then the affected people will not have appropriate cooperation with the managers. All these issues
expose them to more harm than before.
Level of evidence: VI

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