As we are writing this weekly blog for eSense Translations, Bali is on high alert with the threat of a major eruption of Mount Agung. Approximately 100,000 people have been asked to evacuate, as the country issues its highest state of alert. Furthermore, the island’s airport has closed, leaving thousands of tourists stranded in Bali too. With so many people displaced from their homes, eSense Translations reflects on stories from other refugees, who have been forced to leave everything and search for a new life elsewhere.
Refugee Action helps many refugees with resettlement in the U.K., with most of the refugees fleeing from war-torn countries across the world. The charity shares a story of the Addy family, who have now been in the U.K. almost a year. They left their country of Syria, feeling under threat from the fighting. It was the father, Mahmoud, who encouraged his wife and children to leave without him and so initially they crossed the border into Kurdistan. They made it to a refugee camp and were later joined by Mahmood and his son, Aimon. After suffering with illness and struggling to get proper medical care, the family’s application to move to the U.K. was accepted. The family were pleased to be moving, but unfortunately not all of the family were able to relocate. Mahmood’s grown up daughter, who also had children of her own, were not able to move. Mahmoud and his family speak positively of their life in the U.K. and despite struggling with the language barrier, they are working to learn and adapt to build a better future for themselves. Their only regret is that their family is now separated and they wish that one day they will be reunited again.
Many refugees are faced with difficult decisions when trying to find a safer and more secure life for themselves and their families. Often families are split up and scattered amongst countries across the world. Although, they themselves are safe, they worry about their other family members, as often communication is little to none.
Not all refugees make it to their new home. News stories over the last few years have reported on hundreds, who have lost their lives, trying to make a better future.
The refugees you don’t often hear about are those that almost make it, but actually end up back where they started. This is the situation of Ghanaian-born, Emmanuel, who shared his story with the International Organization for Migration. Emmanuel left Ghana in a desperate search for a better life to support his family. His journey lasted for months and was filled with violence, abuse and corruption. Having paid €800 to men in Libya to make the journey across the sea to Europe, he ended up lost at sea and in danger of losing his own life. Finally, saved and taken back to a detention camp in Tunis, Emmanuel was later released and returned home to Ghana. Fortunately, he has since been given support to assist with him making a living in his own country. Setting out on a journey, like he experienced, is certainly not one Emmanuel would recommend to others.
Those displaced by natural disaster do not always fall under the term of refugees and there have therefore been campaigns to ensure these migrants’ rights are equally recognised. Different natural disasters lead to different responses and affect the probability for people displaced by the event to return home.
The Philippines suffers dreadfully from natural disasters. Regulars typhoons, storms, floods and hurricanes have left the country struggling. A quote from a report about one of these events stated, “The community totally vanished. Now, only boulders, stones and mud are left there. We never experienced a typhoon of this magnitude.”
Rosalie Ticala, 33, mother of six, describes how she was trapped in a boat for two days before being rescued to an evacuation centre. However, overcrowding meant that she attempted to return home, only to find it unliveable. She was therefore forced to stay with relatives, her future uncertain, as she was told that she could not return home because it was no longer safe to do so.
Through gathering this compilation of stories, eSense Translations has come across some devastating stories. Many of these have been published by charities and organisations trying to raise awareness of these refugees’ plights and have therefore been able to offer help to these communities. Clearly, however, a lot more needs to be done. As we watch the news of the latest events in Bali, our thoughts are with these people and we would like to encourage you to donate to the charities supporting them. Visit Refugee Action here for more information.
By Lorna Paice