Friday, September 10, 2004

SETTLEMENT SERVICES FOR THE REFUGEES



As the war in Sudan drags on; and the irregular militia groups known as the Janjaweed continue to terrorize the predominantly non-Arabic villagers in Southern Sudan, an increasing number of African refugees have found their way to Australia under the Australian government’s special humanitarian program.

Consequently, Australia has granted visas to more than 14,000 Africans under the humanitarian program in the past two years. And close to 10,000 of these Africans have been from the Sudan, according to the recent issue of the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

The government’s own figures also revealed that in 2003-04, about 4,500 people born in Sudan settled in Australia under the program. But the impact of the war (and the militia brutality) has taken its tool on the refugees now arriving Australia. And help is needed in a lot of areas.

This calls for a full range of services; including the torture and trauma counseling services which is part of the wider package designed to heal the psychological wound and help the refugees adjust to life in Australia.

Common problems areas in which support and counseling may be needed include: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and lethargy.

Other services to assist the refugees might include meeting the new arrivals at the airport, providing transport, arranging housing, emergency medical and dental services, clothing, food, and basic household goods.

The point to note is that the provision of re-settlement services often call for a great deal sensitively with men and women, because of their cultural background and the impact of their experiences.




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