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Syrian refugees flood into Manchester to fight rising waters Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian refugees flood into Manchester to fight rising waters

Parts of northern England have been battered by flooding [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 December, 2015

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Blog: Giving something back to the city that has welcomed them, Syrian refugees travel to neighbouring Littleborough to help locals build flood defences against rising waters.

Syrian refugees living in Manchester braved heavy rain and strong winds to fill sand bags and battle flood waters in a neighbouring town on Tuesday.

Like many parts of north-west England, Littleborough has been hit hard by floods - and locals have been racing against the clock to stop the waters seeping into their homes.

What they lacked was manpower and time, as the waters crept ever higher.

Seeing that their neighbours in Littleborough were in trouble, seven Syrians who recently settled in Manchester packed their bags and travelled 25 miles north to the Rochdale suburbs.

"We saw the pictures on TV and wanted to help," Yasser al-Jassem told the Manchester Evening News.

He told the city daily that he reached the UK by travelling on the back of a lorry from Calais in May.

"The people of Greater Manchester have been very good to us and so we wanted to offer our help to them," he added.

Jassem sent a WhatsApp message to Syrians he knew in the area, looking for volunteers to help the people of Littleborough.

He was immediately faced with replies from friends who were eager to pitch in with efforts to beat the floods.

"As Syrian refugees, we are honoured to take part in community service initiatives such as this to give back to the communities that have so warmly taken us in."

The gesture won over the hearts of many Mancunians and follows the work of other Muslims who have travelled to flood-hit towns in the north to lend a helping hand by cooking food, offering support, and filling sandbags.

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