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Vulnerable Population in Modern Society

Despite the civilization conditions, the economic wealth of any country, and some other factors, the vulnerable population will always be present in society. Many people became vulnerable during various dangerous natural or manmade disasters and catastrophes. The following paper is to cover different reasons that make populations vulnerable under the variety of circumstances, to examine some events that may cause it, and to discuss methods that might prevent or save one’s life during such vital accidents.

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What Makes the Population Vulnerable?

To obtain a full image of the paper’s topic, it is essential to define the vulnerable population. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2015) define social vulnerability as a “capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from the impact of the discrete or identifiable disaster in nature or society” (p. 1). To assess a degree of social vulnerability, CDC uses parameters such as socio-economic status, age, gender, language proficiency, and ethnicity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

In turn, World Health Organization (WHO) (2017) has a similar definition of a vulnerable population, but, at the same time, it provides examples of groups that require utmost care such as elderly people, children, pregnant women, and impaired individuals. Disregarding slight differences in definitions, generally speaking, the vulnerable populations are representatives of different social and health groups that require assiduous attention and paramount care during natural and manmade disasters.

As for non-profit organizations, the American Red Cross (2012) underlines differences in socio-economic status, age, and gender but also highlights the lack of English proficiency as one of the major characteristics. Disregarding slight differences in definitions, generally speaking, the vulnerable populations are representatives of different social and health groups that require assiduous attention and paramount care during natural and manmade disasters.

Therefore, the vulnerable population consists of people who were obliged to abandon their dwellings by a particular disaster. Due to the new habitation region, culture, requirements, and environment, these individuals struggle to survive among the local population. The factors of living by low standards and having a low quality of life make such people look and feel awkward among others. Besides, the vulnerable population might be discriminated against by the local people because they do not want others to inhabit their region and to use particular conveniences due to the unfair dispensation of resources.

Despite all the definitions mentioned above, the main issue of vulnerable individuals lies in the fact that they are not allowed to make major choices in their lives. Besides, these people were usually treated like slaves during the last three centuries because they could not obtain a good job to cover all their vital expenses and support their children. As the following paper is to discuss refugees during wars, it would be proper to define a refugee as well.

It is essential to stress that refugees remain one of the biggest categories of the vulnerable population in general. Hence, a refugee is a person who was forced to leave his or her country due to some dangerous factors, which could have influenced one’s health and life. Moreover, refugees cannot usually return safely to their native towns or cities because of continuous menace.

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World War One Refugees

One of the most suitable events that describe and demonstrate vulnerable populations is Word War One. As it is already known, Germany occupied the northern part of France, Belgium, Lithuania, and Poland in 1914, which forced the local populations to escape. Various peoples of non-Russian ethnical backgrounds, such as Jews, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Poles, were obliged to stay in the western part of the conflict territory. Hence, these people became vulnerable after multiple attacks by Austria and Germany. The largest and the most significant refugee minorities were formed of Belgian, Serbian, and Armenian citizens due to the conducted warfare in their lands’ territory in 1918.

The majority of people from Belgium were given jobs and places to stay in the United Kingdom. The local government always held these people under the control of the police, generals at their workplaces, and so on (Jenkinson, 2016). Even when their homeland was not a dangerous place to stay anymore, the refugees from Belgium preferred not to depart from the United Kingdom and to build their new lives there.

The British government did not like the fact that this minority found a way to socialize and to earn more money, to afford new housings, and so on because this factor made Britain’s economic system worse. Belgian refugees were expecting support due to their previous help in this country. As it is possible to witness, the Belgian population found a way of being independent of government and from other infrastructures. Although they socialized and became a part of The United Kingdom’s society, the local population was displeased with their presence and behavior among others, which also offended native inhabitants of the island.

Refugees from Serbia were obliged to leave their country as well due to the multiple attacks by Austrian soldiers. In this case, only children were brought to the United Kingdom with the help of the Serbian Relief Fund. Other people made their way through the Montenegro Mountains and settled on various territories of such Commonwealths as Tunisia, Corsica, and Corfu. It is estimated that circa two hundred thousand Serbian people died during the escape from their motherland.

This planning was not the best for the Serbian refugees. Although the minor part of the local population was rescued, the majority were killed during the warfare. Nevertheless, the lack of such plans as preparation and forecasting of these actions could not prevent the deaths of thousands in this battle. Besides, Serbian refugees did not have a certain plan – they just went away and inhabited various lands. Their major mistake was to segregate themselves from one another, which made an enemy aware of the population’s panic. Despite what was mentioned above, the Serbian refugees were accepted by other governments and cultures, which did not turn them into servants, but provided them with the required help.

The population of Armenia escaped the country due to the multiple attacks and massacres from the side of Turkey, which made these people move to the Middle East and different regions of Russia. Armenian refugees were supported in Russia by other people of the same ethnic background (Okkenhaug, 2015). People from Armenia had a plan that worked the best for them. They knew that they would always be accepted by Russia, which allowed their children to obtain a primary education, whereas adults from Armenia obtained proper medical treatments and jobs. Due to such hospitality from the Russian government and citizens, Armenians decided to stay there even after the war came to an end. Therefore, Armenians make one of the biggest Diasporas in the territory of Russia nowadays.

When World War One was over the majority of the Belgian refugees decided to return to their motherland, whereas the Serbian population had a chance to return to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which was a newly-formed Commonwealth back in 1918. This state is also known as Yugoslavia nowadays. The western borderlands of such countries as Serbia, Russia, and Poland were demolished by various attacks during the civil war. Besides, the war conflict between Poland and the Soviet Union ended in 1921.

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World War Two Refugees

According to the Oxford American English Dictionary, a refugee is a person who was obliged to leave his or her dwelling or country to escape truculent warfare, persecution, and possible natural disasters that might affect one’s life or health condition (Carruth, Ehrlich, & Flexner, 1980). As it is already known, many people and families with infants were forced to escape their permanent habitat by German soldiers. During World War Two, many people from all over Europe were persecuted according to such criteria as national background, race, and religious path. The most vulnerable populations were Poles and Jews because their countries were situated the closest to Nazi Germany.

German soldiers and tanks invaded the territory of Poland on the first of September in 1939. The strength and powerfulness of the Nazi army gave them the ability to destroy the most significant and populous cities of the neighboring country. Furthermore, the western lands of Poland became a part of Germany due to the total control of that territory by the Third Reich. Moreover, the eastern lands of Poland appertained to the Soviet Union’s government.

Therefore, Polish people were left without homes and without any peaceful place to stay. Due to the German soldiers’ mercilessness, the Polish population was forced to run towards the lands of the former Soviet Union. Nevertheless, circa one million and two hundred thousand Polish refugees, were deported from the occupied territory to other peaceful regions of the Soviet Union. Approximately five hundred thousand former Polish citizens were relocated to the severe region of Siberia and Kazakhstan because they were labeled as people that were socially dangerous to other communities. Besides, the Polish refugees were considered anti-Soviet elements.

As the Polish population became vulnerable in the territory of the Soviet Union, they were doing only dirty jobs, and their quality of life was at the lowest level possible. Moreover, polish citizens who became prisoners in Russian jails were forced to do construction and other hard work, despite their physical health condition, their age, and possible diseases that one might obtain under such circumstances. Moreover, all the children were responsible for gathering various supplies and cutting wood. The Polish population could not bear such conditions. Due to their hard work and extremely cold weather, thousands of refugees died day by day.

Nevertheless, in the year 1941, German forces attacked the Soviet Union for the first time. After the Sikorski-Mayski agreement between the Polish Prime Minister and the Soviet Union’s ambassador was signed, all refugees were allowed to return to their motherland, where they were allowed to form a national army with the Soviet Union’s help and administration. Therefore, the new-made Polish army fought against Germany on the Red Army’s side.

In turn, the government of Iran welcomed the Polish refugees and made the best conditions for them to stay, regardless of the country’s poor economic situation at that time. It is estimated that circa one hundred and sixteen thousand Poles were evacuated to Iran’s territory in the year 1942. Besides, almost two percent of relocated people were of Jewish ethnic background. Although Iran tried to support refugees from Poland, the majority of the venerable population died due to such permanent and incurable diseases as malaria and typhus.

Another community that suffered from the German soldiers’ persecution were German Jews. Before the mass persecution was established the Jewish Diaspora in Germany reckoned circa five hundred and twenty-three thousand people, the most of which inhabited Berlin. When fascist initiated the extirpating of that whole nation, Jews started migrating to neighboring Commonwealths like France, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, and so on (Friedländer, 2014). The German Jews were considered a vulnerable population in Germany for a long period because they were not allowed to receive any government’s support and were restricted to use governmental services.

Due to such unviable and harsh circumstances, the United Kingdom took responsibility for relocating circa ten thousand Jewish children to the safe territory of their country. In the year 1939, almost two hundred and eighty-two thousand people of Jewish ethnic background escaped Germany to find their new habitats in such countries as the United States of America, Palestine, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Southern America. Moreover, some refugees also found their new dwellings in such Asian countries as Shanghai and China.

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To compare the events during World War One and World War Two, it is essential to remember that all the refugees, in both cases, were outlived under different circumstances. As people from Serbia and Armenia were forced to leave their dwellings due to the menace to their safety, Jews and Poles were persecuted because of the Nazi’s ideology. During World War One, refugees were accepted to other countries, whereas people, who escaped warfare during World War Two, were neglected and humiliated by both attacking and hosting nations. Unfortunately, various vulnerable populations cannot decide their destiny and do not have many choices in their future actions. Therefore, it was difficult to blame these people for their decisions and actions during their escapes.

It is an interesting fact that when World War Two was about to end, some German citizens from eastern regions were obliged to leave their dwellings due to the Red Army’s attacks. As a consequence of this, many Germans that found their shelters in such states as Romania and Yugoslavia became slaves in the territory of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that almost fifteen million ethnic Germans were deported to slavery, whereas another two million people died due to multiple attacks by the Red Army. After the end of World War Two, approximately five million Russian citizens happened to stay in different parts of Western Europe.

Ethical Dilemma

It would be proper to define an ethical dilemma to cover its particular issues in the following paragraph, which is to discuss and identify various problems of refugees and some reasons that influence vulnerable populations. An ethical dilemma is a variety of paradoxes, which makes people decide between two unacceptable and not preferable outcomes. This paradox explains the state of people’s minds who sometimes become obliged to choose between death or persecution and tremendously awful quality of life. It is evident from the history that the majority of refugees always prefer to escape warfare or another type of conflict, instead of staying in dangerous territory.

The main problem of the vulnerable population is that these people usually have no rights and freedoms just because they happened to leave their houses and to live in another country for their safety and the safety of their children.

The Necessary Facts about Refugees

One of the biggest problems is that people, who come from a wealthy country, usually hold refugees in contempt, which is an inhuman quality. The most important thing to remember is that all humans can be in such a situation, where other individuals’ help might be essential for ones to receive. My recommendation, in this case, would be to remain kind and generous to all the refugees under any circumstances because these people’s quality of life does not reflect the consequences of their previous life. On the other hand, different governments should help and share resources with the vulnerable populations of their countries.

Some refugees do not even have any rights to obtaining a job or medical treatment due to their financial ruin and citizenship of another Commonwealth (Long, 2013). Unfortunately, many successful countries do not even discuss this problem and do not develop any laws that would provide refugees with at least rights for minimum wage jobs. Therefore, another recommendation for the governments of multiple countries is to prefabricate such cases and emergencies.

To show and to prove that refugees are humiliated and neglected in today’s world, the following paragraph is to provide some confirmative facts. According to the official statistics of refugees in the world, the most hospitable country is Turkey, which accepted approximately two million seven hundred and seventy-three thousand people from other countries or regions (Baban, Ilcan, & Rygiel, 2016).

Almost ninety-eight percent of Turkey’s vulnerable population relocated from neighboring Syria due to the menace of war in the territory of this country. The Turkish government provides refugees with citizenship as quickly as possible. Moreover, the United States of America also allows these people to become American residents by giving them an appropriate status. Comparing today’s situation among refugees from various countries, the differences with World War Two become evident.

Today’s governmental leaders are more loyal to the people who have no place to stay. Nevertheless, there are multiple problems that the government faces when it comes to supporting the vulnerable population because people often go to countries with a poor economic system to have an advanced quality of life with their financial savings. Therefore, the hosting country sometimes has a lack of resources and professional services to meet the primary needs of its refugees. For instance, such African countries as Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya are overwhelmed with vulnerable populations of various ethnic backgrounds.

A wise recommendation to the hosting countries would be to limit the number of citizenships for people from other countries and to send people with particular needs to other states or Commonwealths with the same quality of life. This will reduce the overpopulation problem in poor countries and will make the refugees’ rights equal. Despite all the difficulties that such countries as Turkey and Ethiopia face due to the millions of people seeking help, they stay kind and welcome refugees from different countries, which goes vice versa with the same situation during World War Two. Another wise recommendation for all the refugees to follow is to consider the economic system of the hosting country and to seek for the less popular places to inhabit, such as New Zealand, Chile, Russia, Greenland, and so on.


After researching and exploring some credible sources, this paper is to continue with a shortlist of viable recommendations of what has to be done to improve the future response and planning when dealing with refugees:

  • The first recommendation for the governments or people who are responsible for the territories that are likely to host refugees in the nearest future. It would be advantageous for both the hosting site and its refugees to prepare shelters or at least vital living accommodations for the ones who might need them. This step will prevent the problem of homelessness and mass diseases, which affect the native population’s health and the quality of life as well. If there is a lack of finances or other resources that are required for this measure, the shelters are to be alternated by citizens who might let people with needs in their houses. The analysis of the consequences of this alternative showed that the level of robbery is likely to increase. Therefore, the hosting families should be acquainted with a person that needs shelter. A recommended plan of action for the aforementioned governments is to gather all the necessary information about potential refugees in their countries, to prepare for an increase in population, to provide these people with appropriate dwellings, and to respect their rights and freedoms.
  • The second recommendation would be to address the governments of the countries that might be obliged to provide refugees with safety during the next few years. As it was mentioned above, it is crucial not to overcrowd a particular country, whereas spreading refugees among other Commonwealths might be beneficial for both sides of the problem. The ethical dilemma, in this case, is that refugees always relocate to the places that they consider safe and wealthy. In turn, they do not see any benefits of living in other countries that have a lack of population and have free vacancies for foreigners. As it was mentioned above, the majority of the world’s refugees stay in Turkey and Ethiopia because these countries are situated near to dangerous places that outlive people. If there is no such opportunity, refugees must be equally allocated all over the world, regardless of their wishes. The consequences of such actions might dissatisfy refugees, but would be beneficial for their lives and safety. A recommended plan of action for the governments is to give a certain amount of visas to people who need shelters, to provide them with any jobs that would give them an ability to survive, to keep the number of refugees conformable to a certain percentage of the local population and not to extend this number.
  • The third recommendation is to address refugees that do not want to leave the dangerous area due to their values, dwelling, and lifestyle that they are comfortable with. The ethical dilemma is that such people rather die than seek a new place to live and overcome particular difficulties along with their families. Many cases in the world demonstrate mass deaths under such circumstances, which were especially common during World War Two and constant natural disasters in Japan. The only alternative solution is to rescue such people from risky zones. The consequences of such catastrophes might influence the lives of such people’s relatives. Besides, the mass deaths are disadvantageous for the country’s economic system because the number of workplaces might be reduced, and a particular country will not be able to trade at the world’s market anymore (Fakih & Ibrahim, 2015). Action plans to make potential refugees aware that they should prepare for departure beforehand. Nevertheless, the government’s first imperative is to provide both citizens and residents of the country with safety as much as possible.


Vulnerable populations usually consist of people who do not have strong financial support, various ethnic, racial, and other minorities. In some countries, the government does not provide retired people, children, and students with a needed amount of money and medical treatment. People might be considered vulnerable if they do not have any dwelling if they have vital viruses or other illnesses that affect one’s lifestyle. Refugees are people who were forced to leave their habitat due to some dangerous conditions or menace of a natural disaster or war. Refugees were often deported to slavery during World War One and World War Two. Nowadays, this issue is solved by the United Nations Organization, which also supports the countries that host refugees all over the world.


American Red Cross. (2012). Reaching out to L.A.’s most vulnerable population at care harbor clinic. Web.

Baban, F., Ilcan, S., & Rygiel, K. (2016). Syrian refugees in Turkey: Pathways to precarity, differential inclusion, and negotiated citizenship rights. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(1), 41-57. Web.

Carruth, G., Ehrlich, E., & Flexner, S. B. (1980). Oxford American dictionary. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Planning for an emergency: Strategies for identifying and engaging at-risk groups. Web.

Fakih, A., & Ibrahim, M. (2015). The impact of Syrian refugees on the labor market in neighboring countries: Empirical evidence from Jordan. Defence and Peace Economics, 27(1), 64-86. Web.

Friedländer, S. (2014). Nazi Germany and the Jews. The years of persecution, 1933-1939. New York, NY: Harper Perennial. Web.

Jenkinson, J. (2016). Soon gone, long forgotten: Uncovering British responses to Belgian refugees during the First World War. Immigrants & Minorities, 34(2), 101-112. Web.

Long, K. (2013). The point of no return: Refugees, rights, and repatriation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Web.

Okkenhaug, I. M. (2015). Religion, relief and humanitarian work among Armenian women refugees in mandatory Syria, 1927–1934. Scandinavian Journal of History, 40(3), 432-454. Web.

World Health Organization. (2017). Vulnerable groups. Web.

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