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Table of contents
- The National Archives | Exhibitions | Citizenship | Brave new world
- Angelina Jolie: What We Owe Refugees
- Roosevelt’s effort to help came at the end of the war, but still spared a thousand lives
- A new home
In early , the reception areas compiled lists of available housing. Space was found for about people, and the government also constructed camps which provided a few thousand additional spaces. The government began to publicise its plan through the local authorities in summer The refusal of the central government to spend large sums on preparation also reduced the effectiveness of the plan.
In the event, over 3,, people were evacuated. Almost 3. In the first three days of official evacuation, 1. Goods as well as people were evacuated; organisations or departments departed the cities. Many senior Post Office staff were relocated to Harrogate.
The National Archives | Exhibitions | Citizenship | Brave new world
Some private companies moved head offices or their most vital records to comparative safety away from major cities. Government functions were also evacuated. Under "Plan Yellow",   some 23, civil servants and their paperwork were dispatched to available hotels in the better coastal resorts and spa towns. Other hotels were requisitioned and emptied for a possible last-ditch "Black Move"   should London be destroyed or threatened by invasion. Some strained areas took the children into local schools by adopting the First World War expedient of "double shift education"—taking twice as long but also doubling the number taught.
The movement of teachers also meant that almost a million children staying home had no source of education. In the British Government passed the Camps Act  which established the National Camps Corporation as a body to design and build residential camps for young people, which could provide opportunities for outdoor learning and also act as evacuation centres in the event of war. The architect T. These camps were replicated in over thirty different rural locations around the country. During the war years, they acted as safe refuges for city children.
After the war the ownership of the sites was transferred to the local authorities. Over the years most of these sites have been lost, but the best preserved example today is Sayers Croft at Ewhurst, Surrey. The dining hall and kitchen complex is protected as a Grade II listed building because of the importance of Tait's work, and because of the painted murals depicting the life of the many evacuees. One evacuated school was sponsored by the FPP in Knutsford, Cheshire, with each child being financially supported by an American citizen.
One female pupil, named Paulette, was sponsored by Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt.
Angelina Jolie: What We Owe Refugees
Between June and September , 1, children were evacuated to Canada, mainly through the Pier 21 immigration terminal; to Australia; to South Africa and to New Zealand. However, in and about 14, children were evacuated privately to overseas relatives or foster families, including 6, to Canada and 5, to the United States. A second evacuation effort started during and after the fall of France. From 13 to 18 June , around , children were evacuated in many cases re-evacuated. Efforts were made to remove the vulnerable from coastal towns in southern and eastern England facing German-controlled areas.
Also, some 30, people arrived from continental Europe and from 20 to 24 June 25, people arrived from the Channel Islands. As thousands of Guernsey school children arrived in northern England with their teachers, some were allowed to re establish their schools in empty buildings. As a result of the evacuation of so many Guernsey people to England, those returning no longer spoke the Guernsey language Guernsiaise after the war.
One of the speediest moves was accomplished by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway when it transferred its headquarters out of London. This was made ready as offices and a number of huts built in the surrounding park. On 1 September , it was decided to move in and the transfer was completed before war was declared two days later. Within three days some 3, of the staff were based at the new headquarters. When the Blitz began in September , there were clear grounds for evacuation. Free travel and billeting allowance were offered to those who made private arrangements.
They were also given to children, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women, the ill and those who had lost their homes some , in the first six weeks in London.
As bombing affected more towns, "assisted private evacuation" was extended. However, not all evacuated children, mothers and teachers were safe in the areas to which they had been evacuated. Air raids, unexploded bombs, military vehicles and military minefields posed risks to the evacuees wherever they were posted in the UK.
London proved resilient to bombing despite the heavy bombardment.
The destruction in the smaller towns was more likely to provoke panic and spontaneous evacuations. The number of official evacuees rose to a peak of 1.
Roosevelt’s effort to help came at the end of the war, but still spared a thousand lives
By September, it stood at just over one million. By the end of , there were just , people officially billeted. Still, the V-1 flying bomb attacks from June provoked another significant exodus from London. When I started working with the U. Refugee Agency, or U. High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR , 18 years ago, there were about 40 million forcibly displaced people and hope that the number might be falling.
From Myanmar to South Sudan, we are failing to help resolve conflicts in a way that enables people to return home. And we expect the U. At the first session of the U. General Assembly , in , President Truman laid upon member states the prime responsibility for creating peace and security.
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He said the U. But the sad truth is, member states apply the tools and standards of the U. States often put business and trade interests ahead of the lives of innocent people affected by conflict. We barely acknowledge the impact of climate change as a major factor in conflict and displacement. We use aid as a substitute for diplomacy. But you cannot solve a war with humanitarian assistance. The rate of displacement last year was equivalent to 37, people being forced from their homes every single day.
Imagine trying to organize a response to that level of desperation without the funds necessary to help even half of those people. As we mark World Refugee Day on June 20, it is an illusion to think that any country can retreat behind its borders and simply hope the problem will go away. We need leadership and effective diplomacy. We need to focus on long-term peace based on justice, rights and accountability to enable refugees to return home.
This is not a soft approach.
A new home
It is the harder course of action, but it is the only one that will make a difference. The distance between us and the refugees of the past is shorter than we think. Contact us at editors time. By Angelina Jolie June 19, High Commissioner for Refugees. Refugees flee Paris in Rohingya Muslim refugees cross a canal as they flee over the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh at the Naf River on Nov.
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