The recent use of the word ‘swarm’ by the UK foreign minister when referring to the deepening humanitarian crisis involving migrants looking for a better life, due to escaping struggles in their own countries is nothing short of dehumanising. The situation is worsening by the day. Thousands of penniless refugees have arrived setting up camp, sleeping on rubbish-strewn cardboard boxes the harbour side. Setting up residence in derelict housing with no running water and just a hose to wash on the street.
Yesterday I heard the story of a young, self-starter articulate woman who had crossed over the Mediterranean sea through a perilous journey of life and death. She revealed just one of the many genuine stories. Working as a beautician at her own boutique in Syria life had become so unbearable for her family that reluctantly her family decided to make the treacherous crossing in a rubber inflatable boat. Added to this situation was the complication that she was 8 months pregnant and deeply uncomfortable screaming with pain from her abdomen. Upon arrival in Greece’s Koz she was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, she was given the all clear before being returned to the refugee camp and subsequently transported to the nearby immigration processing centre.
There are thousands of stories that we are unaware of, each with their personal motivations for escape. Phil Collins words from ‘Just another day in paradise’ ring true. ‘She looks out from the street every day, Sir, can you help me’. Stilling in our jolly pads we’re unable to be empathic enough to consider solutions for this deepening crisis.
The statistics speak for themselves with regard to the actual situation. Yes, thousands have made their way into mainland Europe and yes, thousands are camped outside Calais in what locals refer to as ‘The Jungle’. Incidentally, this camp has been existence for over 20 years. We also hear commentators suggesting that it is a French problem. Really? Think of it as a global issue based on wars of the past. No one appears to be suggesting solutions, investment and greater Interpol to locate those that are preying on the vulnerable, i.e: The people smugglers.
Consider the detail behind the numbers. I suggest that reading the following piece from the Guardian : ’10 Truths about Europe’s Refugee Crisis’. The numbers suggest a different strategy. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/10/10-truths-about-europes-refugee-crisis
During a recent Sky TV documentary we gained a troubling insight into the perils of the travellers. In one case a group of 20 women had left their town deep in the heart of Africa. Each had paid in excess of £2000-£3000 to first take a road trip and then travel from a unregistered port as a gateway to Europe. Unfortunately, their van was involved in an accident and a local barn was being used as a temporary shelter. Each woman told her story of fate. For example, how some families considered their daughters as a stepping stone out of poverty. The idea was that if one member of the family made it out, they could eventually build a better home. The situation was further compounded as the accident resulted in many of the women being injured and temporarily being patched up. One lay on the floor with her leg bandaged up from her hip to toe. Another showed her wounds clearly on route to a serious infection as the blood and cut glistened under the cameras.
The Sky news correspondent tried to see if any of them recognised the people traffic culprit through photo-fit pictures. Either no one revealed their whereabouts out of fear for their families back home. Or, genuinely they were unable to recognise them. The latter probably the result of trying to stay one step ahead of the police through disguise.
So how could this increasingly troubled situation be resolved: Here are some suggestions:
1. A more serious approach from Interpol
2. Setting-up camps & reception centres to review cases
3. Supply of food and health assessments
4. Stop blaming each other or the past, deal with the present
5. Ask countries to widen their intake figures, even if it is for a short time
6. Consider the root of the issue with fragile parliaments from where the migrants are coming from
7. Set-up a humanitarian fund
8. Stop referring to people as insects! They are people will real stories sadly displaced
9. Get politicians out to visit these locations to experience first hand
10. Support local communities.
11. Whatever happened to Corporations helping out
We know that in Koz, residents are giving away their cloths. Further funding is needed at these entry ports to help them. They are travellers just trying to survive wrapped up in the race for life, the human race.