The Salvation Army welcomes the announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, for Australia to accept an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq who have been forced to flee their homes due to the deteriorating humanitarian conditions gripping both nations.
The Salvation Army Australia stands prepared and ready to support the government in what will be a huge undertaking, especially when it comes to the settlement and integration of these people who will be coming to Australia after having faced extreme traumatic experiences.
Alongside this, in a number of European countries The Salvation Army has further increased its already established activities and programs to support refugees.
Salvation Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Kelvin Alley, says it is important for the federal, state and local governments, in collaboration with community organisations such as The Salvation Army, to work together to make the transition for these people as easy as possible.
“We cannot understate the trauma which these innocent people have had to endure over the years since the start of the Syrian civil war, which has also spilled over into Iraq,” Lieut. Colonel Alley said.
“It is vital that as a community we welcome these people with open arms and provide them with the support they will need to transition from a warzone environment to that of a free and open society like Australia."
The Salvation Army has experience working with refugees and has over the years developed support programs to help make a positive transition into Australian life.
“It is important that once they arrive they are made to feel welcome and not left feeling alone, isolated and without any support or connection to the community. They will need language support, welfare support, emotional support and other practical supports so that they will be able to successfully become integral members of the Australian community.”
Salvation Army representatives will be attending the Prime Minister’s roundtable of religious and ethnic leaders in Canberra this Friday to show support and a willingness to assist by any means possible.