Saskatoon

Small Prince Albert team ready to help Syrian refugees

A small city in this province is getting ready to deal with a relatively large influx of new citizens, anxious to begin building a better, safer life here in Canada.

210 set to arrive in P.A.

Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in Canada soon, 210 are headed to Prince Albert. (CBC)

A small city in this province is getting ready to deal with a relatively large influx of new citizens, anxious to begin building a better, safer life here in Canada.

We are concerned about the potential for PTSD.- Ashley McLean 

Prince Albert will welcome about 210 Syrian refugees over the next couple of months.

Ashley McLean is in charge of the small YWCA Settlement Services team that will help the Syrians establish a new life in the city.

"Refugees coming from any situation have to deal with a host of different emotions, and traumatic experience," McLean said.

The level of suffering for Syrian refugees, however, may create some unique challenges for McLean's team. The country has been devastated by civil war, and civilians have not been immune from the death and destruction. Many of the refugees have been on the move for some time and living in camps, on the streets and in crowded apartments.   

"We are concerned about the potential for PTSD and things like that," said McLean.

Media attention also a concern 

The other unique challenge, McLean worries, is the media spotlight that may be cast on Syrian refugees arriving in the city. McLean's team will do its best to shield newcomers from intense mainstream and social media attention.  

"More so that they have the privacy and respect they deserve as individuals."

McLean said that when refugees arrive in Prince Albert, they will likely find temporary lodging in hotels. Among the first priorities will be helping them apply for social insurance numbers and health cards.

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