Five families of Syria refugees will soon be settled in Hvammstangi, northwest Iceland, having arrived in Keflavík this morning full of hope and gratitude.
RÚV reports that 23 Syrian refugees arrived at Keflavík International Airport this morning. From here, they will travel by bus to Hvammstangi, a small town in northwest Iceland who have been diligently preparing for their arrival.
“I want to thank all Icelanders and the Icelandic government for helping us,” Mohammad al-Hajji told reporters. “And biggest thanks to everyone who welcomed us here.”
Iceland has already defied expectations for Mohammad, knowing already that Iceland does not have a large population and that it is a safe country.
“I saw Iceland from the airplane and it was very beautiful, and unlike what we were told,” he said. “They said it would be cold and snowy but it’s not like that.”
Other refugees expressed a keen interest in learning Icelandic, going to school, and starting their new lives in Iceland.
The Icelandic government invites small groups of refugees to Iceland each year, Syrian refugees fleeing conflict among them. Working in conjunction with the national government, municipalities provide assistance in having a place to live, registering children in school, establishing Icelandic classes and other services. These efforts have been very successful, as locals and new arrivals alike report repeatedly that integration efforts go well.
Read more stories about refugees in Iceland here.
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