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Open Access Sociale media in en rondom de vluchtelingen-noodopvang bij Nijmegen

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Social media in and around the emergency shelter for refugees near Nijmegen, the Netherlands

To cope with the limited capacity of the established reception centres during the refugee crisis of 2015, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) set up emergency reception centers for refugees such as Heumensoord nearby the Dutch city of Nijmegen. At the peak of the crisis, the Heumensoord centre hosted about 3,000 asylum seekers. COA’s organizational approach to manage reception centers was characterized by a top-down policy. At the same time, host communities of local residents around the emergency reception center developed horizontal relations within and beyond the walls of the center, actively using available social media platforms such as Facebook. These horizontal relations enabled the development of social relations, and facilitated the exchange of goods and services. This article demonstrates the different communication strategies used by the stakeholders at Heumensoord, and how the different worlds of asylum seekers and the receiving, host communities came together. It also presents bottom-up alternatives to the top-down crisis approaches by unravelling cooperation options and the use of social media platforms that can lead to a more resilient interaction between asylum seekers and local communities.
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Keywords: crisis communication; emergency shelter; refugees; resilience; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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