A community development organisation based in Dungannon has urged the Mid Ulster District to take in at least one hundred refugee families in a gesture of solidarity.
STEP (South Tyrone Empowerment Programme) made an impassioned plea for every community in the council area to support at least one refugee family after the release of harrowing images showing children drowning as they attempt to cross the Meditteranen sea to safety.
The number of refugees arriving over land through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece has now hit record levels.
Mid Ulster people have already shown their solidarity and support for the asylum seekers by generously donating to aid charities and organising mercy missions to Calais, where many of the stricken families are trapped.
A spokesperson for STEP said that there was a will and a way to ensure that every local village accommodated at least one family, and every town at least two.
It warned that many of the refugees will be alone, the sole member of an extended family to escape or even survive.
“Already many people have shown their solidarity by contributing to the collections of immediate aid for those waiting desperately in Calais and other European informal camps but we need to do more”, said the spokesperson.
“To recover their faith in humanity, refugees need to be surrounded by human solidarity not walls and wire. Traumatised people should not be held in camps like prisoners of war when they manage to reach safety. We need to take refugees into our communities across the Council area.
“It is a very modest target when you break it down to several neighbourhoods working together to welcome and foster one family group. If you want to help call us on our dedicated Community Action for Refugees line: 028 8774 1960.”