Blackburn mayor's shock over Syrian refugees
BLACKBURN mayor Salim Mulla said he was ‘shocked’ at conditions for Syrian refugees after officially opening a purpose-built containerised village for victims of the civil war.
The village had been built by the Blackburn-based charity Al-Imdaad Foundation which, with branches of the charity from across the world, raised almost £500,000.
It was officially opened by Coun Mulla, who led the UK delegation that included Zubair Valimulla, Al-Imdaad Foundation UK’s projects co-ordinator, and Hafez Aboussamad Mulla, the foundation UK director.
The settlement in Tutul village, in Idlib, in the north west of the country, contains 100 new container homes, a communal kitchen, an education centre and a medical unit, which will enable over 1,000 refugees to move from tents and camps into a more stable and suitable living environment.
Coun Mulla said: “The whole of the UK should be proud and honoured to have a full village inside Syria.
“The team of Al-Imdaad Foundation have done a fantastic job on the ground and I can tell you that more and more villages will be made with your support.”
But the mayor said that while he was pleased to be able to open the village, he was shocked by the conditions that many of the refugees were living in, and saddened to hear the stories of the victims of the conflict, many of whom are children.
He said: “We met a six-year-old boy called Saddam in a rehabilitation centre. He sustained a horrific injury and is now paralysed.
“His elder brother, aged 14, had to carry Saddam from his home in Homs to the border of Turkey, with no knowledge of his parents’ whereabouts.
“Saddam is now totally bedbound being looked after by his brother, who finds it difficult to watch Saddam crying for his mother.”
The delegation also discovered that although the temperatures were as low as -4C, many refugees had only flip flops or bare feet.
The Al-Imdaad Foundation has now launched a ‘Winter Warm’ appeal, asking for donations of £25 to provide refugees with a hat, scarf, gloves, shoes and blanket.
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