The first group of 38 refugees - 23 of them children - have arrived in the Chilean capital
Thirty-eight Palestinians, previously stuck in no-man's land between
The refugees, which include 23 children, were greeted at
The group is the first of 117 refugees to be accepted by the Chilean government after a plea from the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) last year.
Fabio Varoli, head of the regional office of the UNHCR's Latin America Programme told Adnkronos International (AKI) the refugees had lived in the refugee camp of al-Tanf, after surviving violence and hardship in war-torn
"They lived in a desert area, about 400 metres long, inside tents, where temperatures reached minus 10 to minus 15 degrees celsius in the winter, or 40 to 50 degrees celsius in the summer," Varoli told AKI.
The al-Tanf camp, located on a strip of land between
Varoli, an Italian from the historic city of
"When they arrived to
"There is a profound sense of gratitude to
Upon their arrival, the refugees were transferred to the city of
The mayor organised a lunch while a band played typical Chilean music and performed the country's national dance, the Cueca.
The Palestinian Authority's ambassador in
"It was like a Latin-American postcard," spokesman for the Vicaria de Pastoral Social (VPS), Alberto Pando, told AKI.
VPS is a Catholic aid agency based in the capital
"It has been so exciting for them (the Palestinians)
The Palestinians travelled from the Syrian capital,
"Kids could be seen playing in the escalators at the airports, because many of them were born in refugee camps and thus had never seen one," Pando told AKI.
All of the refugees are Sunni Muslims and were received at the airport by an imam from a local mosque. He prayed with the refugees and also offered them advice.
Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, is reportedly sympathetic to refugees because she was one herself.
She and her family sought asylum in
According to Pando, when Bachelet studied in the German capital of
A second group of Palestinian refugees is expected to arrive in