Three kilometers from the Yuen Long ISS food collection shop, live 30 refugees. Some have bicycles, most cannot afford to buy one. A young single mother moved into this slum recently with her one-month old baby. Mother and child are under the protection of UNHCR HK.
One would expect ISS to prioritize assistance to the most vulnerable refugees. However, we met this desperate mother walking through fields, in scorching sunlight, with her fragile baby. She said she was hungry. We offered her one of our lunch-boxes. This brave mother led us to her slum.
ISS case worker Tanya Sze signed off the documents that settled her in a hut under a tree. There is no protection from baking heat or filthy flooding. There is electricity, but no water. There are no cooking facilities, no refrigerator for the food, no drainage or sanitation. By any civilized standards she is homeless!
The ISS contract Tanya signed bears false information. The tenancy agreement the landlord provided shows a deceptive address. Not satisfied with 1200$ rent, the greedy landlord robs this mother 1400$. ISS Tanya is either powerless or incapable of dealing with this criminal behaviour.
In the compound live 30 refugees including another young child. We worry less about the adults who somehow have learnt to cope with the hardship they believe is Government policy. Vision First wonders whether the Social Welfare Department and Security Bureau are aware of newborn babies living in such dangerous conditions.
One question: ISS requires a sight inspection. Tanya, did you visit the baby’s shack?