At its 20th year AGM conference yesterday, Positive Action in Housing made the refugee crisis at Lesvos the focus of its Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.
Yesterday, 3 children drowned, the day before that 8 bodies washed up on the beach, four of them were children. 28 people lost their lives last week. 4 babies needed CPR on the beach at Lesvos, after an old ferry carrying 250 people sank in the harbour. 3 babies died on the beach.
Serious issues have been highlighted by people working on the ground in Lesvos. Eric Kempson is an artist and wood carver. He has lived in Efthalou, Lesvos for 16 years and has expert knowledge of the stretch of coastline in front of his home. He gave a powerful testimony at our AGM. Mr Kempson claims that the UNHCR and Red Cross have failed to provide humanitarian aid to assist refugees making the dangerous sea crossings with their families. This is despite generating millions from advertising images of the crisis on their websites. Mr Kempson claims that instead of putting in place aid on the ground at Lesvos, aid agency personnel are to be seen sitting in restaurants eating fish and drinking wine while men, women, children and babies are dying on the sandy beaches just metres away. Mr Kempson moved an audience of over 200 with his powerful testimony as he factually laid out the situation.
After hearing Eric Kempson's powerful testimony, most of the audience were moved to tears. In her address, Jelina Below-Rahman, a human rights lawyer, and board member of Positive Action in Housing informed a packed audience of 200 that she was cancelling her direct debit to the Red Cross and received loud applause.
Positive Action intends to seek a meeting with the UNHCR and the Red Cross to look at ways to address and resolve the problems as soon as possible. We wish to see the UNHCR and Red Cross providing proper aid on the ground immediately.
Watch Eric Kempson speaking at the Positive Action in Housing AGM, 5 November 2015:
We at Positive Action in Housing are appealing for 200 volunteers with medical skills over the age of 25, to travel to Lesvos from now until March 2016. We have so far recruited 54. Winter is approaching. The Kempson's and their volunteers are worried about greater loss of life as Syrian and Afghan refugees attempt the dangerous sea crossings under cover of darkness using ever more dangerous routes to avoid the Turkish coastguard. Volunteers can sign up at https://paih.typeform.com/to/qvDBN8.
We are also asking you to help us raise £50,000. We have so far raised £11,000. Every penny of the funds donated will be spent on direct aid in Lesvos in coordination with the Kempson family. Please help us reach the £50,000 target.