Rescue professionals were established as an NGO under the umbrella of Humanitarian Maritime Rescue to assist refugees trying to cross the Aegean Sea. Their work has been recognized with the number zero of the spring race next Sunday in Donostia.
How long have you been in Greece? How did the initiative to go there emerge?
Mr Javier Herrero: We made groups of four or five people who remain in shifts of 15 to 20 days. In addition, there is a person who is permanently there and has the support of two or three places that have integrated into the group.
– IG: There is a bag of 70 volunteers who are organizing shifts. The idea is to be there until we are needed there. We have no return date.
What is your source of funding?
– IG: At this time, we have private donations and some public subsidy, but small. We are also looking for the help of groups that organize events as the case of this spring race.
A colleague told me some time ago that when they reach land, refugees have enough support and a reasonably good care, and the Maritime Rescue Humanitarian work is limited to those last meters of the journey at sea does. How they detected that need?
-JH: It is common sense. On TV shows , are shown patrol boats built especially by the police. Those who work in rescue know that people who come to the coast have suffered a lot, a lot of them cannot swim, can be complicated.That’s where we realize that where you have to act effectively is at sea.We must try to catch them so as to bring them to a safe area.
– IG: The intention of the NGO was precisely cover the slot in which they are disadvantaged. Who reaches land meets NGO medical and logistical support, with places where they can change clothes … This area is quite covered but the strip of water is presenting shortcomings. Lesbos is where the bulk of refugee traffic is, and there are already five or six organizations dedicated to water safety. Unlike other organizations that get straight to work in the area; we put ourselves at the disposal of the Greek Coast Guard Service, which was assigned to us Chíos because there was no one doing that role until our arrival.
If you want to read full interview you can check it here.
Information from Noticias de Gipuzkoa.