NICEM seeks greater help for the vulnerable
1st December 2010: The death of a Polish man has brought alive the issue of having a crisis fund for the migrants. The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) has called for a greater help for the vulnerable.
According to the information seeping in, the Polish man was found dead behind a church on Belfast’s affluent Lisburn Road.
Polish honorary counsul Jerome Mullen said Robert Kowalski may have died from exposure to the bitterly cold conditions on Christmas Eve.
A spokeswoman said the economic meltdown had lead to loss of jobs for the migrants, thus, heightening the potential for tragedy. As such, NICEM strongly recommends that Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM ) set up a crisis fund to assist those workers, who have been made unemployed and are unable to access public funds.
The spokeswoman referred to the case of Oksana Sukhanova, 27, a migrant worker from Ukraine. Both her legs had to be amputated following injuries gained as a result of sleeping rough in Coleraine in 2005.
The NICEM spokeswoman added they also called upon the Department of Health to extend their misuse of drugs and alcohol scheme to migrants.
In times of economic downturn migrant workers face compounded vulnerability accentuated by unemployment and mental health problems.