An Israeli humanitarian relief organization has taken to Europe to assist the thousands of Syrian refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos and languishing on the Hungarian-Serbian border.
IsraAID, an organization founded in 2001, committed to providing emergency aid and rehabilitation support to victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises, arrived at the scene over the course of the past week and has already begun distributing much-needed supplies and services to the refugees.
Speaking to Tazpit, Program Director Navonel Glick explained that the efforts begin with members of the team sometimes having to dive into the water to save drowning children.
Once on shore, however, the refugees arrive at the beaches of Lesbos unaware of the arduous journey which lies ahead. In an effort to allay the physical tolls of such journeys, IsraAID has begun distributing baby slings donated by Israeli families to mothers and fathers.
“The Israeli population has been very responsive in all segments of society and because we are a non-political entity and people really see the human side, we are very happy and proud of this,” Glick told Tazpit.
He further added that the Israeli team has encountered neither rejection nor harsh reactions from the Syrians: “We have had no issues whatsoever. At a certain point it goes beyond any of these emotions.”
In addition to the distribution of medical supplies and baby slings, psychological assistance is provided to many victims who are unable to speak about the horrors which they have witnessed in Syria: “People have gone through something very extreme and there is a need for psychological support. So since we have a lot of Arabic speakers, a vast majority of the workers in the field are able to communicate and provide aid to the victims and families,” Glick said.
He further highlighted a series of initiatives being undertaken in cooperation with European governments in order to ease the experience of the refugees and the governmental response efforts.
Citing the case of Germany, which has announced that it will allow thousands of refugees to enter its borders, Glick stated that IsraAID is currently in communication with officials about developing applications which assist arrivals on relevant routes and locations. Moreover, he mentioned the creation of information hubs which enable wandering refugees to charge their phones and surf the internet.