Please volunteer to help Alice with the site monitoring!
I have set up a monitoring group to visit/phone refugee shelters and keep reporting on what is happening. I am getting burnt out because there are only 2 of us doing this very important work. Please could people get involved. Phone me on 0845643891 and leave a clear message or sms your phone number. Thanks, Alice
Tue 1 July from Alice
Yesterday, 1 July, I went to visit the refugees who were left on the steps of the city hall by Greyville Methodist Church. This includes the 13 who were at Greyville and the 18 who were at Umbilo Methodist Church and then transfered across to Greyville. Altogether there were 41 outside the city hall. So there might be some 10 people who joined the group. The story from Greyville is that extra people started coming into the church and the refugees became quite abusive. Aslam Khan from UNOCHA came. I urged him to set up a refugee camp as an interim measure. He said they cannot do this without the City’s permission.
I attended a meeting at the Disaster Management Centre. There were mostly people from Disaster Management, also Home Affairs, Head of the Red Cross, MCC, UN. I took one of the leaders of the refugees, Akyamba Hulubatu. Someone from Disaster Management said that a sight for a refugee sight has been identified at what used to be the SPCA in Cato Manor (next to the Cato Manor police station). He said that unless the City gives the green light the won’t move people. He said Michael Sutcliffe has grave reservations about creating a refugee camp for “obvious reasons”. provincial govt says there are advantages and disadvantages to having all refugees at one or 2 sights.There policy is repatriation or reintegration. Apparently Sutcliffe did meet with the management from Glenwood Community Church and stated that the matter is for the Provincial and National Govt. The person from MCC said that the decisions from Prov Govt have not been implemented. City management were not at the meeting so she said that the meeting was a complete waste of time. Home Affairs said that govt policy is no refugee camps and no provision of food – people are equal citizens and can work and have acces to health care and education, just like SA citizens. Mr Duze, Head of Disaster Management stated “This is not a disaster. There is no crisis. There has been no information of attacks from SAPS. People must be reintegrated and must go back to the places they came from” He handed out a list of all the displaced people with the areas they came from. he said there are no problems in Umbilo, no problems in Point Rd. No incidences of violence have been reported. Akyamba spoke about the experiences of the refugees being stabbed and beaten. Mr Duze then said that Akyamba should not be in the meeting that they cannot have a meeting about strategy with refugees present. Other people nodded there heads and so we decided to leave.
The 47 people outside the City Hall were moved to the SPCA last night. Please could Peaches visit the sight? Please I need more volunteers to do this work as it is all very demanding.
Wed 2 July from Alice:
Today, 2 July I visited the sight at the SPCA. People are in a tent with no mattresses. There are 29 people there moved from outside the City Hall by Disaster Management. They were given food last night but not today so I called and emailed Red Cross with the stats. No one is managing the sight. This is a potentially very dangerous situation as the sight is in Cato Manor where there have been alot of tensions and xenophobic incidents. I question the suitability of having the camp there. There are no kitchen facilities – so nowhere to even boil water to prepare formula for babies. I phoned the UN to urge them to establish a refugee camp in a more suitable place – both for these refugees and for the 176 at the shelter in town.