Syrian refugees have been helping to build flood defences to “give back” to the communities who have welcomed them in Manchester.
They were among volunteers filling sandbags in Littleborough on Tuesday after hundreds of homes were flooded when the River Roch burst its banks.
Yasser al-Jassem, who reached Europe through Greece and was smuggled into the UK in a lorry from Calais, said he had seen images of the devastation on television and wanted to help.
Syrian refugees helping fill sandbags in Rochdale today. They say they want to repay the kindness shown to them. pic.twitter.com/NyUQQq5lAf— Helen Pidd (@helenpidd) December 29, 2015
“The people of Greater Manchester have been very good to us and so we wanted to offer our help to them,” he told the Manchester Evening News as he worked in Littleborough’s Conservative Club car park.
“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.
“I put out a call through WhatsApp and immediately had many other Syrian refugees join me.
“It shows that we are very much interested in not only becoming a part of British society, but also contributing to it.”
Numerous faith groups and charities have been helping the recovery effort, including Sikh volunteers serving food in Yorkshire, churches opening their doors for shelter and mosques and Muslim charities across the UK giving a helping hand.
In Pictures: Floods hit the UK
In Pictures: Floods hit the UK
1/17 Floods hit the UK
Members of Cleveland Mountain Rescue and soldiers from 2 Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment evacuating people from the Queens Hotel in York city centre as the River Ouse floods on December 27, 2015
2/17 Floods hit the UK
Teams in Whalley evacuate villagers from their homes
3/17 Floods hit the UK
A resident of Glenridding, which flooded for the third time this month, surveys the damage
4/17 Floods hit the UK
The River Ouse, York, has burst its banks
5/17 Floods hit the UK
A soldier from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s regiment helps to sure up flood defences in Appleby, Cumbria, one of the areas worst affected by the floods
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Experts believe the cost of clearing up the most recent flooding could exceed £50m (PA)
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Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in York
8/17 Floods hit the UK
A police helicopter photographed the extent of the flooding in York on 27 December.
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Flooding at Clifford's Tower in York on 27 December
10/17 Floods hit the UK
Flooding along York's Inner Ring Road on 27 December
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Water runs out of the Lowther pub in York on 27 December after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre.
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Flooded streets in Dumfries, Scotland on 30 December
13/17 Floods hit the UK
A car left submerged in floodwater in Newton Stewart, Scotland
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Staff at the Worlds End bar in Dumfries Scotland desperately try to pump floodwater out of the building
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A man stands in the doorway of his cottage in the flooded town of Straiton in Scotland
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Flooding in the village of Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland
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Man wades through floodwater outside a fish and chip shop in Dumfries, Scotland
More flood warnings were issued across northern England, Scotland and Ireland today as Storm Frank brought yet more torrential rain and gales.
In many areas the ground is still saturated from previous downpours and river levels remain at record highs.
Three severe warnings were in place for flooding posing a “danger to life”, alongside 46 less serious warnings and 85 alerts.
Meanwhile, controversy continues over the Government’s response to the floods and spending on defences.
Devastated families in York claimed they had been “sacrificed” by the Environment Agency after it raised a flood barrier, while its chairman, Sir Philip Dilley, came under fire for failing to immediately return from a family holiday in the Caribbean.Reuse content