If their arrival to Iceland weren’t already a moment to cherish, the magical snowfall that welcomed the group of refugees arriving from Syria to the Westfjörds yesterday morning made it a truly memorable day.
Local news outlet RÚV was there to record the children’s first experience in the snow as they stopped to play with it on the way down the plane.”At the beginning we were really excited about coming to a safe country,” Malek Muayad told RÚV. “But now I’m more excited to see the snow for the first time.” Malek and her sister Rawan had a good time throwing snowballs at each other and running around under the snowfall before heading to the small welcome party organised in honour of the refugees in Ísafjörður.
Malek arrived in Ísafjörður with the last group of refugees from Syria and Iraq—a total of 14 people who plan on building a new life in the Westfjords and in the east. According to Tojan Al Nashy, who came to Iceland with his wife and two daughters, the most shocking thing so far has been the weather. “The country is beautiful but it’s cold. However, we’ll get used to it, God willing,” Tojan said. “We are just really happy to be here and we thank Icelanders for welcoming us. We hope to be happy here, in a safe environment.”
After fleeing Syria, the families had been living in Jordan in poor conditions and without citizenship status. Thus, the most important thing to do now is to register everyone in their respective municipality and show them their new home. Some of them are headed to Flatey, others to Reyðarfjörður and Norðfjörður in the east. The project manager overseeing the arrival of the refugees to the municipalities of Fjarðabyggð, Rakel Kemp Guðnadóttir, will help the families during their first days. “The first thing we need to do is to examine their health,” she explained. “Then we can show them their new apartments and the place they’ll live in.”
Watch the sweet video of the refugee’s arrival to Iceland on RÚV.