About 40 Syrian refugees from refugee camps in Lebanon have been offered to resettle in Iceland late this year.
The Icelandic government decided at a meeting yesterday to receive a new group of Syrian refugees later this year. A refugee committee suggested that the municipalities of Reykjavík, Árborg and Hveragerði receive the people, first and foremost because all those communities include active Red Cross chapters, offer a good employment and housing environment and a strong community service.
Most of the refugees will settle in Reykjavík. Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson told RÚV, “We understand there are 40 individuals, and that 20 of those come to Reykjavík, and we welcome that prospect and will now sit down with the ministries and organize this.”
It’s not known how many children or adults are in the group, nor is it known whether the group includes people with special needs. ISK 200 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.4 million) is expected to be allocated to the project from the 2016 budget. Minister of Social Affairs and Housing Eygló Harðardóttir commented, “The situation in Syria certainly hasn’t improved lately, and we know the country which has received the greatest number of refugees, Lebanon, is breaking down under the pressure of the [refugee] load.”
The municipalities offered to participate in this effort. “The positive attitude on behalf of the communities matters a great deal,” Eygló stated, “and it’s a key element in the success of this effort.”
The first group of Syrian refugees to be resettled in Iceland arrived on January 19, and the second group arrived on April 8. So far this year, 48 refugees from the United Nations’ refugee camp in Lebanon have resettled in Iceland.