Category: Refugee services

Crisps, buses and Irish stew: what you need to know to live in the UK

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Artwork by schoolchildren welcoming Syrian refugees to BelfastYou’ve survived bombs, disease and death threats. So starting a new life in the UK should be easy, right? But where do you start if you don’t speak fluent English, you’ve never been on a bus and you don’t know what a £5 note is?

British Red Cross volunteer Jessica takes you behind-the-scenes to see how Syrian refugee families are introduced to their new lives when they first step off the plane.

The government has pledged to give 20,000 Syrian refugees a safe home in the UK over the next five years. The first families have already arrived. More

Refugee crisis: people of the dump

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Refugees FranceQusay has become accustomed to the noise and stench of living next to a landfill site.

Every day, large tipper trucks dump tonnes of household waste about 50 metres from his flimsy tent.

The smell infiltrates your every breath. This is not a place for human habitation.

Yet, just a stone’s throw away from the smouldering piles of waste, a ramshackle camp has become home for Qusay and around 250 people.

You do not have to think too hard to see the symbolism in their surroundings.

Like the rubbish in the dump, they appear to have been discarded by society.

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Europe refugee crisis: “I’m so scared I don’t sleep”

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The fear that stalks refugees and migrants travelling through Europe can be greater than the physical pain they endure. As Nichola Jones discovers, tales of desperation and acute humanitarian need abound.

This year’s International Migrants Day is set against a backdrop of the biggest movement of people since the Second World War.

Thousands are living in appalling limbo. Last month, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia closed their borders to all except Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.

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Refugee crisis: keeping families together

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Refugee family with young girlRefugees and migrants are travelling thousands of miles over land and sea to find sanctuary in Europe.

With so many obstacles to overcome, families travelling together inevitably become separated on the road to safety.

As this video highlights, the Red Cross is helping refugees and migrants find missing loved ones and stay in touch with relatives back home through its Restoring Family Links service.

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A refugee’s story: 20 years of looking for the people you love

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Safet was left starved, bruised and shattered by the Bosnian War. Now a refugee in the UK, he has looked for his loved ones over the last 20 years. Today, the war has long passed – but people are going missing once more in the Balkans.

“They came over with heavy artillery tanks and took our town – killing people, burning houses, taking our stuff. The town was almost razed to the ground. They even killed my grandfather, who was 93.”

Safet Alic is remembering the horrific events that unfolded when he was just 21.

A Bosnian Muslim, Safet grew up in a tight-knit community of friends and family, against a backdrop of growing ethnic tensions and economic problems.

When war broke out across the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the civilian population in Bosnia was attacked by armed forces.

Looking back on that day, Safet says: “I consider myself very lucky to have survived.”

But the price of survival was a march to a concentration camp. More