Outside of those directly impacted by the appalling crash of the Hawker Hunter, just over a week ago, whose lives will never return to the same place they where at the time of the crash, the wider community in Shoreham and residents of the surrounding area are also still affected in a manner that few of us can appreciate, now that our cars and other vehicles are permitted to resume their travel from West to East or East to West on the A27. In time those within that wider community will begin, like the traffic flow to resume something very similar to normal. Speaking yesterday to a designer based in Shoreham, it is clear that the weekends commemoration events helped many people, but as he said, the town has felt different following the crash and continues to do so in ways that are most profound. The much more dispersed community of our emergency services will also be suffering from the trauma that they have witnessed, although many of those that were brought in to deal with the incident, are now resuming normal duties. It will take all of these officers, just as with the residents of Shoreham time to make sense of what they have been through.
The 10th Anniversary of the New Orleans disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina and failed infrastructure has fallen this weekend. The residents continue to pay a huge price even though many have been able to move back into their homes. It seems inevitable that even in another 10 years, the impact on that community will remain a scar. Yet despite this, 10 years on, New Orleans is a place that welcomes holiday makers and business visitors in huge numbers as though all has been dealt with.
As Europe continues to focus on its response to the many Millions of Refugees it is encouraging that voices of a few political leaders are speaking out about the need to offer sanctuary here in the UK for a modest number to be invited into our nation from at least one of the many conflicts. The events in Shoreham impacting a fixed community, able to support one another might, or even those in New Orleans would seem modest if compared to some of the stories of these men, women and children who are travelling from Syria, and many other nations whose land has been impacted by war. It is hard to imagine how deep the trauma that they have experienced has been pushed internally as they have sought to escape, to travel over 1000’s of miles, risking their lives to people smugglers or their own ingenuity. As we begin to acknowledge that we have a practical responsibility for their wellbeing, it is important to understand that many of them will never fully recover from the indignities they have experienced. I write this, not because I understand such matters, but because it seems clear that once we begin to open our borders to these refugees, that we must not treat them simply as people to be housed, clothed and found jobs for, as commodities or statistics. These men women and children need time to recover, just as Shoreham and New Orleans continue to need to time to heal, and that is something we need to prepare for.