As many of you will be aware on the 21st December there was a fire at one of the main warehouses in Samos, details of the upcoming convoy are below, however before we detail these i would like to pass on a personal message and a tribute from Charles Storer MBE, Co-Founder and Head of Operations.

The Greek Island of Samos, as with many of the other Greek Islands close to Turkey, is struggling with a massive influx of boat refugees. The report here (https://rsaegean.org/en/refugees-trapped-on-samos/) says it all!

One of our Hope and Aid Direct trustees , Steve Walsh has gone out to lend support and has commented…

“The more I see here, the more angry I become. Millions of Euros are being poured into security, such as Frontex, Police, Army etc. Seemingly nothing at all is being spent on humanitarian care. The Political objective is to keep the refugees out, and if they do arrive, make them wish that they hadn’t!”

The international leaders of our world, and in this context specifically in Europe, should be ashamed of their inhumane treatment of refugees; ordinary people, who through no fault of their own, have had their lives turned completely upside down, suffered unbearable pain or loss, fled for the international safety of asylum, and now are being treated worse than we look after our animals. Remember the Kindertransport?

My parents both remember it, as if it was yesterday. They were proud that Britain, rightly congratulated itself for taking in and saving the lives of 10,000 children. Our UK response now to the global refugee crisis, and especially to the desperation of children, is shameful and wholly unacceptable, on a scale that is impossible to describe harshly enough.

My mother, Margaret Storer, who was aged 98, died on 23rd December 2019. She is now at peace. For many years, she worried, and continually wanted to know who would look after refugee children, and orphans? If any UK Politician is reading this, and willing to call me and tell me the answer to this question, or better still ask for the benefit of my experience, I would dearly love to receive that call.

Meanwhile, in loving memory of my mother who gave her entire adult life to the Red Cross, and to helping others, and was my inspiration, as is my Father still, this latest emergency delivery of aid to Samos is in her memory. May she rest in peace.

Charles Storer MBE

A huge amount of much needed aid was destroyed by the fire and it has taken some time to check what is needed and how to operate moving forward.

Many of the HaAD sleeping mats, sleeping bags and tents had been removed previously and have been distributed.

Steve Walsh, a Hope and Aid Direct trustee is currently out in Samos working with Omar who founded and runs Refugee for Refugees.  R4R has about 20 international volunteers currently on Samos and a lot more in Lesvos from all over the world. They distribute aid to 100’s of refugees every day.

Following on from Steve’s evaluation of the situation there we have been called upon for some immediate aid assistance, particularly for children’s clothes.  There are many children there of all ages that do not have the correct clothing or footwear and given that the refugee numbers are now up to 8000 on the island we have needed to respond.   

Next week Hope and Aid Direct will be driving a 40 tonne truck and Frantic, one of the 7.5 tonne vehicles full of the necessary aid down to Greece to meet up with Steve and Omar and provide them with many of the items that they require.  We must give our thanks to Dennis, Shaun and Brian who will be doing the driving.  A 3 week round trip at the drop of a hat takes some commitment and a whole bunch of thanks must go out to them!

We are fortunate enough that we have a lot of the items required to make this delivery in stores however, certain additional items have been procured over the past 48 hours and again thanks goes out to RAFT, MerseyAid and GRACE who have all contributed to the load, alongside a lot of aid provided by Sandra Tudor and a collection that is being made from the Congleton warehouse team on Saturday morning.

In addition to the aforementioned clothes which are very needed, we are also transporting bedding, blankets, fleece throws, carry cots and a variety of toiletries.  The aim of course is to ensure that the essentials are re-stocked quickly and then that this aid can be distributed quickly to those most in need of these items.

We cannot receive any further aid for this trip, but more is of course needed for future trips. BUT WE DO NEED YOUR HELP……

This unexpected journey will cost roughly £8000.  Please, any donations that you can afford can be made from this page: https://www.hopeandaiddirect.org.uk/appeal/samos-warehouse

Please share this on social media and let’s try and get these much needed funds.