A group of 35 Syrian refugees arrived in Iceland yesterday and were surprised to find it was not as dark or as cold as they were lead to believe, reports RÚV.
“They were glad to arrive in the daytime,” said Linda Rós Alfreðsdóttir with the Ministry of Welfare. “They had read that it was really dark here, so that’s positive. They obviously also think it’s a bit cold.”
Overall however, the welcome was warm and Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was there to greet the group upon arrival.
“It was incredible to see such a warm welcome from the prime minister and his administration, from the nation and the volunteers. Just incredible,” said the newly arrived Ibrahim Alkhatib. “We were tired when we arrived but when we saw these hospitable people we forgot all about it. This was a great first meeting which gives us the power to keep going.”
“We are grateful for all that has been done for us,” adds Ibrahim’s wife Fayrouz Nouh. “We are happy and hope to start a new life with our children. We thank Iceland for that.”
Twenty-three will live in Akureyri and the remainder will live in Kópavogur.
As reported Monday, Akureyri mayor, Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson, is especially looking forward to their arrival.
“We’ve had plenty of time to prepare for their arrival as well as we can,” he told reporters. “Now we’re just waiting excitedly to welcome them.”
RÚV reports that those who traveled on to Akureyri have now arrived and been shown to their new homes to rest after the journey.