Donations Action

9th November, 2015

 

I extend a huge 'Thank You' to everyone who has donated items or cash to help with the refugee crisis.  I began collecting donations in October 2015, in order to make a more pro-active contribution.  Until then, my input had been time at the distribution centre in Belgrade, Serbia, but it had become obvious that more needed to be done.

There are currently 3,000-5,000 refugees a day arriving in the south of Serbia, a few hundred in the east, and potentially thousands more not registered.  Considering the total mass movement of millions of displaced people, this situation is shaping-up to be the greatest humanitarian crisis since the second world war (and there have been some horrendous crises in between).  Reports from Presevo in the south included grave concerns regarding the processing of refugees.  The border area was not equipped for refugees to wait for their paperwork, with people having to stand in mud and water up to their knees for several hours.  With temperatures around freezing, and likely to drop to double-figures below zero during the winter, it was clear that action was necessary.

A request was made on this website for sleeping bags, warm blankets, waterproofs and rucksacks.  These will be taken to the distribution centre in Belgrade and driven to wherever they are most needed.  Although a handful of such donations will not benefit the tens of thousands travelling through the Balkans each week, it is part of an initiative from hundreds of support volunteers and charities, and this small effort will really help keep a few families and individuals healthy and moving along.

The cash donations have been supremely useful.  With the high risk of hypothermia and serious illness in the border areas, portable gas heaters were purchased for the Presevo and Sid crossing points (from Macedonia into Serbia, and from Serbia into Croatia, respectively).  At the time of writing, volunteers are getting used to the units, and determining how many more they need.  With complications regarding facilities (from local landowners, governments, etc.) it is a challenge to organise inside areas where heaters will be most useful, and how best to safeguard the health of volunteers, medical teams and the refugees themselves.

Further complications result from the nature of how refugee centres are managed.  Specifically, there is a great deal of flux, as border areas open and close to refugees, sometimes on a daily basis, and governments and charities altering how they want refugees transported through their countries.  With this being the case, it is important to understand what resources are available where, and how to redistribute items to where they are most needed.

 

 

 

 Photos from Presevo, Serbia.

 

I will collect donations on this site until the end of November, 2015.  After that, please explore other options for donating, such as through established charities and individuals planning to bring goods to refugee areas.  Please also consider other people in need, such as the homeless in your own country, who may benefit from sleeping bags, sleeping mats and warm clothing.  Some cafes offer 'Suspended Coffees', and such like, where customers can purchase discounted hot drinks for the homeless. 

Again, a huge 'Thank You' to all those who have donated.  The cash and items make a real difference, are appreciated, and are important, even to the level of helping to save lives.  Sickness is far too common amongst the refugees, particularly the very young, resulting from the stresses of travel, malnutrition, inadequate clothing, and adverse weather.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


 

 

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