Red Cross sends aid to freezing berry pickers

Bangladeshi berry pickers working in the woods of northern Sweden received warm clothes from the Red Cross on Friday as temperatures dropped to just above zero.

The aid packages, consisting of everything from long johns to coats and shoes, were sent to the berry pickers’ camp in Bräcke, 600 km north of Stockholm, in response to a call for help from the guest workers who were ill-prepared for near freezing night time and early morning temperatures.

Red Cross consultant Ylva de Val Olsson told local newspaper Länstidningen Östersund it was very unusual for the aid organization to send aid within Sweden’s borders. But she added that the organization had no hesitation when the berry pickers requested humanitarian assistance.

In a summer that has seen several disputes over wages and conditions with foreign berry pickers across Sweden, the Red Cross worker expressed frustration at conditions in Bräcke.

“I think the situation is just as wretched every year for the berry pickers who come here. A lot of them are treated very badly,” she told the newspaper.

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