Responding to refugees’ plight

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A vigil has been organised in Rye along with collections of help after a week in which refugees (in their millions) have been hitting the headlines, and there has been mixed reactions to the UK government’s response in comparison to other European countries. Local and national action has been driven by social media chatter following refugee deaths in the backs of lorries or by drowning in the Mediterranean – and, in particular, the photo of a young drowned boy on the edge of a sunny beach.

Calls for a national day of action to say “Refugees are welcome here” will be the focus of a vigil this Saturday at noon outside the Town Hall. The event, organised by Jack Ash, is in response to various reports of refugees fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. The war in Syria in particular has displaced millions, but much of the unrest in Africa and the Middle East also reflects climate changes, poorer harvests and failing economies.

A local petition has also been organised calling on councils to welcome refugees in need through a local member of the pressure group 38 Degrees .

More specifically donations are being collected at the Mermaid Cafe in Rye (below The Old Borough Arms) of clothing, shelter, food etc for the families living in make-shift shelters and the growing problem of large numbers of unaccompanied children. Their Facebook site (www.facebook.com/pages/Mermaid-Street-Cafe/240455259319760) says : “These people need a little help and compassion and I believe it is within us all to be able to offer that”.

An organisation, also on Facebook, called “CalaisPeopletoPeopleSolidarityActionfromUK” is organising regular voluntary supply convoys to Calais from all over the UK. (Source: Tracy Dighton)