The News Comment: Wake-up call over plight of refugees in Syrian crisis

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The goodwill of the people of Portsmouth and surrounding areas has never been in doubt.

Whenever people are in need or there’s a crisis, you can be sure that folk in this corner of the south coast will band together and do their utmost to help.

It harks back to that war-time spirit when the area was being bombed or, perhaps, the city’s working-class roots in the dockyard.

But when the crisis is thousands of miles away in the Middle East, for many, it has been a quandary of knowing how to respond.

And, when our television news stations are filled every day with story after story of unimaginable atrocities, there are some of us who might be tempted to switch off, proclaiming ‘What is the world coming to?’

But this week has been a wake-up call.

The publication of a picture of the body of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach was as harrowing as it was eye-opening.

David Cameron announced the UK will provide settlement to thousands more Syrian refugees and announced a further £100m in humanitarian aid.

The truth is these families are risking life and limb to seek a better existence.

The reaction of local people is commendable and points towards one very important lesson – we are all human beings.

Before nationality, race or religion, we all have the same basic needs. We all want a safe place to live and food to eat. Fearing for our lives on a daily basis is something none of us would want to endure.

This may be the biggest humanitarian crisis for decades and showing we care is important.