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Today, once again, on World Refugee Day, the UN refugee agency UNHCR reports the number of people trying to reach the shores of Europe and those drowned at sea during the journey. Images of drowned refugees catch the interest of people every once in a while, but the fate of these people is ignored more often than not.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement operates worldwide to help people who have had to flee their home country. The Red Cross is there to receive, protect and help people suffering from both natural disasters and conflicts alike.
Ali Ihsan became a Finnish Red Cross volunteer when he was still living at the reception centre. Helping has become an important part of his life.
When Ali Ihsan came to Finland as an asylum seeker, he was impressed by the Finnish Red Cross volunteers he saw working at the reception centre.
– These people, with their work and families, came there to help us without pay. It was amazing, describes Ihsan, 29.
The autumn of 2015 was a challenging time for the Red Cross workers and volunteers. Emergency accommodations for asylum seekers had to be established at a few hours’ notice, and there could be as many as three reception units set up in one day. How does the Finnish Red Cross assess the past two years?
A total of 11,581 Finns and 41 organisations are petitioning the Finnish Government to raise its refugee quota. The petition was submitted to Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko on Wednesday, 16 August.
“I would like to thank everyone who signed the petition for their support. This support is needed not only here, but especially in refugee camps, where the need for aid is now greater than ever before,” said Minister of the Interior Risikko.
More than half the patients at Red Cross clinic are children.
Mothers with small children wait to see midwife Arja Savolainen. They remain calm and patient, even though they and their families are struggling in the face of almost impossible odds.
– I cannot imagine anything worse than being a refugee when you are pregnant or have a newborn or a very small child, says Savolainen.
– To have no home, no support from family or community, and not know what the future holds. Many of these women have been separated from their husband, their sisters, their mother.
The Red Cross report reveals that the lack of information and technology has great impact on peoples’ abilities to prepare themselves, respond to and recover from disasters.
There is a wide ”digital gap” between different countries. This means that new technologies are beneficial for countries in high-risk territories when it comes to preparing for disasters and surviving from them.