UPDATE ON DONATIONS

After our recent work in Samos, Greece we desperately need funds to cover the following:

Transport of donated clothes

Purchase of emergency mylar foil blankets

Flights to get our volunteers exactly where they are needed.

Please, please, please donate what you can, and pass http://re-act.scot/donate to your friends and colleagues to help us save lives as winter sets in.

Thank you from everbody at Re-Act

OPOTAVOC, CROATIA

OPOTAVOC, CROATIA

8 October

A 40ft lorry was loaded with supplies including men’s, women’s and children’s clothes and shoes. This was joined by another Arctic loaded with a donation of blankets etc. A number of volounteers from Edinburgh Cares then flew out to Budapest and hired vans. They made continious visits to buy food and water to distribute to the refugees. Working very closely with the Red Cross and the Croatian Police and the Army.

EDINBURGH – Unite Against Fascism March

EDINBURGH – Unite Against Fascism March

3 October

On Saturday 3 October the Scottish Defence League (SDL) planned a protest to whip up racial hatred, Islamophobia and division around the issue of refugees and migrants. A broad mobilisation of faith groups, civil right groups and trade unions,came together to oppose the SDL’s message of intolerance and racism with a peaceful march in defence of refugees and immigrants. This  march was initiated by Unite Against Fascism-Edinburgh.

The following is a speech made by Keefe McKie, one of the founders of Re-Act.

Hello and As-salamu Alaikum. My name is Keefe and I recently helped my friend to set up CalAid Edinburgh now Re-Act, refugee action Scotland, a not-for-profit humanitarian social movement organised in direct response to the current crisis in Europe, for we as humans could no longer sit back and watch this situation unfold without doing what we could to help. Through our work with Calaid now Re- Act we have been introduced to a number of the Edinburgh refugee Community, who alongside our own volunteers have worked tirelessly to help us achieve our goals. I have been inspired and humbled by the response of the people of Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.

I have just come back from the refugee camp in Calais which is called the “jungle” though I have massive reservations about calling it that as it dehumanises the people there. I had read extensively before I went there and seen many pictures and videos of the camp but nothing could prepare me for the reality of the situation. There are thousands of people who have been forgotten about and left to live and die in squalor. It is unsanitary and inhumane but our government is more concerned with spending money to keep these people out than helping what is the worst humanitarian crisis since the 2nd world war. I witnessed illness and injuries that make me utterly ashamed of our administration. These are human beings and as fellow human beings we need to act and stand with a united voice and say enough is enough. We need to force our government to help these people not leave them to rot.

There was a man from Eritrea who is living in the camp he was beaten and robbed by right wing fascists, left for dead and thrown in a pond to die, he was beaten so severely he had serious head injuries but no ambulance would come and get him and the French police just laughed when asked for help. He was taken to the hospital by a volunteer who came with me. Again I reiterate this can not continue to happen.

Having seen first hand the appalling conditions these people are surviving in I am even more compelled to act and I urge you all to stand with me and do the same. We have to show that the people of Scotland and the UK do not echo the inhumanity of our government, refugees are welcome.

And I say this:

To all of our brothers and sisters around the world, in Europe, in the UK or in their home countries we say this. We stand with you shoulder to shoulder. And hand in hand. We See You. We Are One.

And finally I am going end with a quote from Ibrahim Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

OPOTAVOC, CROATIA

OPOTAVOC, CROATIA

25 – 29 September

This journey to Opotavoc in Croatia started on the 25th of September and returned on the 29th with a total of five vans – including two 7.5 ton lorries. Two vans were taken by members of Re-Act and three we taken by members of Edinburgh Cares, following information gathered by Akeel Umar in conjunction to the previous trips.

Only four vans completed the journey as one van broke down. However, the items that were on that van were not wasted as they diverted to Calais and offloaded donations there. The loads consisted of men’s, women’s and children’s clothes and shoes as well as tents and ground sheets.

The camp  had recently been set-up by the Croatian Army and Police, and was a transit area. Refugees were collected from the boarder at Bapska then processed, given something to eat and then bussed onto the railway station at Tovarnik.

We made contact with a German charity which worked with us to offload all the vans’ contents. These items were distributed the next day to the thousands who came in the busses.

We then went into the local town and visited the local superstore Konzum and Lidl. We bought energy drinks, bananas, energy bars, tins of sardines and tuna. This was bought by donations made to Edinburgh Cares. A total of 65,000 kunas was spent (£6,500) on this food.

We returned to the camp and we were allowed into the camp . Working alongside the Red Cross we  loaded the food into their holding area to be distributed to the refugees.

THE JUNGLE, CALAIS

THE JUNGLE, CALAIS

26 – 30 September

I went to Calais on the 26th of September with a team of volunteers and with two vans of aid. The first day we arrived in Calais we distributed some of the aid we brought with us. One volunteer who was a nurse went and volunteered in the medical caravan.

I was shocked and appalled at the conditions in the camp the raw sewage running down the middle of the camp and lack of basic sanitation. The acrid smell of human waste and burning plastic was incredibly strong.

Day 1. We distributed aid and met some of the people living in the camp including a young doctor from Syria who had a wracking cough. We were invited to sit and share tea with them and later found some cough medicine for the doctor. We were also asked if we could help supply shoes as there were several people with only flip flops on. We met and talked to more people including a man with his two young sons. He was horrified that this was where his sons had to live, begging for hand outs.

Day 2. We distributed another full van of sleeping bags, mats, tents and blankets from a van of aid that arrived from Edinburgh. I volunteered that afternoon in the medical caravan bandaging razor wire wounds, cleaning wounds and tending to injuries mainly sustained  from people trying to cross the channel. We watched a van with aid drive into camp and quickly get surrounded as they hadn’t organised a proper drop off. As a result, the distribution wasn’t done properly, with people trying to get the aid with no coordination. The people in the van got scared and chucked all the aid out of the van in piles on the ground causing fights and drove quickly through the camp nearly running people over. It was horrendous to watch.

Day 3. I spent the day mainly in the medical caravan doing the same as the day before. There were lots of signs of disease such as scabies, chest infections, and possible cases of hepatitis. Malnourishment was obvious. I helped a cricket star from Afghanistan who had such severe razor wire wounds he would never be able to play again. I distributed and delivered aid to newly arrived refugees such as tents, sleeping bags, clothes pots and food.

Day 4. I went and met with the NGO’S that were there MSF, International Solidarities to find out what help we could give from home. We then went to the warehouse to pick up tents, sleeping bags and other aid, including everything a newly arrived heavily pregnant woman would need after walking for 12 days. We then went to the supermarket to buy things they didn’t have in the warehouse such as women’s pants. We then distributed the collections from the warehouse. We then had dinner with people in the Sudanese area of the camp before going round and saying goodbye to people we had met.

THE JUNGLE, CALAIS

THE JUNGLE, CALAIS

18 – 22 September

On the 18th of September  a large removal van supplied by Dunbar Removals left East Lothian fully loaded with items for the CalAid warehouse in Slough. All items taken on the trips were put together by memebers of Re-Act with most of the items supplied by Louise and her team in East Lothian and topped up by Edinburgh donations.

A group of five members of Re-Act, two from Edinburgh and three from East Lothian, left the following day along with one transit and one long wheel base IVECO. Supplies taken down included primarily men’s clothing, some women’s clothes, food and tents.

The first day was spent handing out clothes and supplies and getting to know the people in the camp. There were only two recognised agencies within the camp; Medicines sans Frontiers and Doctors of the world. Both were very helpful and gave us very valuable information.

On of the vans returned to Edinburgh on the 21st of September. Three members of the team stayed on, spending time in the camp distributing more supplies. Many valuable lessons were taken on board for any future visits to this area. Now with winter coming and a further camp arising in Dunkirk there is a growing need for more to be done for women and children as they are now coming to the camps in greater numbers