Thousands of Icelandic families offer to assist, house Syrian refugees

Thousands of families in Iceland have offered to help Syrian refugees as Europe struggles with a massive influx of people coming from the war-torn country.


The Nordic country currently takes only 50 asylum seekers a year and but many residents think that number is too low.

One of those, a woman named Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, set up a Facebook group that featured an open letter to Iceland’s welfare minister asking that the number be increased and citizens allowed to help.

She asked that refugees be given work permits and resident papers, noting that many people would be able to house them

She said refugees were “human resources” who would bring benefits to Icelandic society.

“They are our future spouses, best friends, the next soul mate, a drummer for our children’s band, the next colleague, Miss Iceland in 2022, the carpenter who finally finishes the bathroom, the cook in the cafeteria, a fireman and television host,” she wrote.

“People of whom we’ll never be able to say in the future: ‘Your life is worth less than my life.’”

More than 13,000 people have joined the page, with some offering to to open their homes to refugees and others offering assistance and donations.

Europe’s response

Germany and France have this week repeated their calls to European Union countries to work together to deal with the refugee crisis.

It comes as Germany’s leader condemns days of violent protests against refugees and migrants.

The diplomatic push was made during talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Berlin.

Ms Merkel says the EU’s laws about registering migrants are not being followed by some countries.

“We have joint asylum rules in Europe, but those rules are currently not implemented and Germany and France expect that all member states fully implement these asylum rules. We’re talking specifically about the registration of migrants, about minimum standards of accommodation and minimum standards of health care.”

France’s President, Francois Hollande, has also called for an equal distribution of refugees across the EU.

Meanwhile hundreds of angry migrants demonstrated outside Budapest’s Eastern Railway Terminus on Tuesday demanding they be allowed to travel on to Germany.

Around 1,000 people waved tickets, clapping, booing and shouting “Germany! Germany!” outside the station. Later they sat down, staring at a police blockade erected at the entrance.

“Please, we are human too,” said a sign in German held up by a young boy in a smaller group which protested into the evening.