Since 2016 Hope and Aid Direct have been working in Greece to support the refugees who have crossed the Aegean Sea.
Each year two convoys of vehicles have left the UK and travelled across Europe where they were met by other Hope and Aid Direct volunteers who have flown to help in the distribution of aid. Along with those in need on Mainland Greece we deliver to the islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios where the majority of refugees reside in squalid conditions.
We have delivered over 230 tonnes of tents, sleeping bags, nappies, hygiene items and much more over those years. We have built strong relationships with several NGOs on the islands and have supplied aid to support their projects. in 2020, one of our volunteers spent most of the year on the Greek island of Samos setting up a new aid warehouse following a major fire.
At the peak of the crisis in August 2020 more than 40,000men, women and children were living in dreadful camps. Contrary to many reports, the refugees are not all young men, around 50% of the camp population are women and children.
No one will ever know how many refugees lost their lives crossing the Aegean Sea in unsafe boats. The majority were escaping war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq and had hoped to find a safe place to work and live in the EU. Sadly, they found only poverty, cruelty and bureaucracy designed to return them to the places they were escaping from.
Unfortunately, the Covid months and Ukraine crisis has reduced our activity in this area, but support of projects continues.