Know what it's like to be a refugee

Know what its like to be a refugee

Dubai - UNHCR two-day campaign at Dubai Festival City shows the plight of refugees worldwide



By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Tue 20 Jun 2017, 8:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 20 Jun 2017, 10:53 PM

"My room shook from the loud bomb that blasted a few miles of away from my home. My brother rushed in and told me to run. My heart pacing, I start running. I see fire and smoke consuming by country.
"Unable to breathe, I pass out from the smoke. I open my eyes later to find myself at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) housing unit, being registered as a refugee. Still dazed and afraid, I'm given a UNHCR blanket, kitchen utensils, mat, a small stove and a solar lamp as I'm told there is no electricity here.

2-day campaign ends today
The United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees launched a campaign in the Dubai Festival City line with the World Refugee Day to make the world know the problems faced by the refugees worldwide.
The UNHCR is offering the residents a virtual reality video as part of their 'Voice for Refugees' campaign, which ends today. People are urged to sign up for the campaign and donate to the cause.
"The platform we have here today at Dubai Festival City is for the refugees. We're hoping it'll get the attention of people who pass by," said Ola Anan, spokesperson of UNHCR
This is the first time they are campaigning on ground in the country. In the past, it's always been either online, electronically or through the media.
About 5,000 or more people are expected to sign up for a cause in the two-day campaign whit hit the ground on Tuesday.
"I'm led to a small housing unit with one window. This is going to be my new home. This is where I'm going to live until either my country finds peace or another country gives me asylum."
This isn't my story, but of millions of people who are displaced, seeking asylum or are refugees all over the world.
The UNHCR is offering the UAE residents a virtual reality video that shows the journey of a refugee from their point of view. It is part of their 'Voice for Refugees' campaign, being in held in Dubai Festival City from June 20 to June 21, in line with the World Refugee Day.
"Today, we have 65.5 million people who are either refugees, displaced or are seeking asylum. This is the biggest number the earth has seen since World War II," said Ola Anan, a UNHCR spokesperson.
"There's a very high demand for support right now and every little contribution counts. This issue needs to be addressed today so it doesn't escalate."
The UNHCR also has a prototype housing unit on display at the mall, where people can see the structure of the house, the sizing of it and what it contains inside. It had mats inside, tarps, as well as kitchen utensils.
"We're hoping it'll get the attention of people passing by," Anan said.
The goal for UNHCR in these two days of campaigning on ground is to get 5,000 or more people to sign up. This is the first time they are campaigning on ground in the country. In the past, it's always been either online, electronically or through the media.
One in every 113 people is in no man's land
Measured against the world's population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people is now either a refugee, an asylum-seeker or internally displaced, which put them at a level of risk for which the UNHCR knows no precedent.
There are 65.5 million persons of concern globally. The tally comprises 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million are internally displaced within their own countries.
On average, 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.
Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia produce half the world's refugees, at 4.9 million, 2.7 million and 1.1 million, respectively.
Colombia had the largest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs), at 6.9 million, followed by Syria's 6.6 million and Iraq's 4.4 million.
sarwat@khaleejtimes.com


More news from