LONDON – After violent scenes in the nation’s capital, scores of refugees continue to flee the North London area of Tottenham in efforts to seek safety and security.
Initially peaceful protests turned ugly over the weekend leaving residents with no choice but to seek asylum in safer areas, with many heading to the relative safety of war torn Somalia, Gaza and Baghdad.
“We just want a chance of a peaceful life,” said one single mother of two who believed her children deserved a less hostile environment in which to grow up. “It’s just not safe for us here…We’re going to try our luck in Afghanistan.”
The UN Refugee Agency has made an emergency appeal to respective governments to increase resettlement slots for refugees impacted by spreading violence in North London.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said: “We are looking to initiate resettlement programs to ensure people from Tottenham are given the secure living conditions they are not afforded in their home town.”
Although publicly willing, many governments privately worry that the chaos seen in Tottenham could spread to their own countries.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has warned that they would extend a welcome to refugees, but only on condition that they leave “that dangerous behaviour” behind them.
This hesitation comes after a travel warning from Somali capital Mogadishu advised residents against travel to Tottenham or the surrounding boroughs unless “absolutely necessary”.
“We’re simply asking our people to exercise caution,” said Somali foreign minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar. “The situation is still uncertain and unless you really want a good deal on televisions or foodstuffs we see no reason to put yourself in danger.”
Abdullahi Omaar also announced a hot-line for ex-patriots caught up in the turbulent scenes, adding: “We have arranged chartered flights out of Tottenham so those concerned for their safety can return to Somalia.”
Comin’ Straight Outta Tottenham
Until the situation calms down, Abdullahi Omaar deemed the area a ‘no go’ zone.
Thousands are thought to be making their way out of Tottenham, although travel was hampered by planned engineering works on the Victoria, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Jubilee lines of the London Underground.
Transport for London officials advised anyone looking to flee the town to protect the safety of their family’s lives to seek alternative routes.
In addition, major traffic delays on the A406 southbound between junctions one and five mean that in reality, many would sadly perish before reaching the M25.