Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Refugees battle bedbugs in Cleveland

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 17, 2012

What I don’t understand about some refugee resettlement agencies is how they can be out of touch with problems that refugees are having. Right now refugees in Cleveland have been under siege for several months by bedbugs, yet the agency that is sounding the alarm is not one of the local refugee resettlement agencies (International Services Center, Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, and US Together), but rather an after-school kids program. I suspect this one of the problems that the State Department’s Assistant Secretary didn’t hear about on her recent visit to the city. Cleveland’s ABC News Channel-5 has the details about the infestation:

CLEVELAND – Jamu Koue is a Liberian refugee, who is trying to raise five grandchildren in Cleveland. But an outbreak of bed bugs in her apartment complex has made it especially difficult.

Koue speaks very little English, and has been receiving support from Soul Fuel of Cleveland, an after-school program dedicated toward helping families integrate into life in the United States.

Soul Fuel Program coordinator Becky Trout has witnessed the severe bed bug bites on the grandchildren, and contacted NewsChannel5’s Troubleshooter Unit in search of help.

“I was really upset to find out about it, especially since it’s been going on for so long,” said Trout. “The children have been sleeping outside, and they have a lot of bites on the them and they itch.”

Trout said the owner of the West 65th Street apartment building needs to do more to solve the problem. Kapa Nyonee, 11, explained what she and the other grandchildren have been dealing with for the past several months.

“We don’t even sleep at night. Every second we close our eyes, or turn off the light, there’s going to be something biting at you. When we turn the light back on, we find a bed bug with a lot of blood in it.” …Read more here

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