Former Gulf War hostage urges government to 'pull out all the stops' to house Ukrainians

13 March 2022, 15:51 | Updated: 13 March 2022, 21:01

By Tim Dodd

This caller who was taken hostage on British Airways Flight 149 calls on the government to pull out "all the stops" to house Ukrainian refugees by using empty hotel bedrooms and community centres.

It comes as the government has announced that Brits offering homes to Ukrainian refugees through a new humanitarian route will receive a "thank you" payment of £350 per month.

Caller Barry told LBC: "I have a little bit of skin in this game I suppose. I know what it's like to be a civilian in a warzone, and to be bombed and shelled and have to get in a bathtub with a mattress over your head."

Barry explained he was on British Airways Flight 149 from London Heathrow Airport to Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport via Kuwait City, which was captured in Kuwait several hours after the Iraqi invasion in August 1990 which marked the start of the Gulf War.

Aircraft, passengers and crew were captured by Iraqi forces and many passengers became part of Saddam Hussein's 'human shields'. Barry said he was taken hostage for 4 and a half months as a human shield in Iraq.

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"We should be opening up our home to these refugees," Barry said.

"They are genuine refugees, this is a genuine emergency. It shouldn't just be British people opening up their homes. We should be pulling out all the stops. If there are empty hotel bedrooms, if there are portacabins as a caller said, community centres.

"If you're running away from a warzone, trust me on this, you don't care about whether you've got to share the bathroom with three or four people - that's not the issue.

"We don't need to open the Ritz hotel for these guys, we just need to be humane, human, and open up our homes."

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