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Diaspora Rushes to Help Greece During Worst Fires in Modern History

Greece fire fundraiser
People from the village of Pefki aboard a ferry which evacuated them from the area on Sunday. Organizations and individuals from the Greek diaspora are now organizing fundraisers to help in the Greece fire recovery. Credit: Greek Reporter

The Greek diaspora, always ready to help the motherland in an emergency, is now rushing to help in the Greece fire recovery efforts across the nation.

The island of Evia, Attica and the Peloponnese are only three of the scores of fires that torched the country last week and are still raging, causing injuries, incalculable damage to property, agricultural crops and wildlife.

Often, fire victims lost not only their own homes but their means of making a living as well.

Greek Reporter’s Fundraiser: First International Organization at the Scene

Greek Reporter’s team on Evia Island, besides reporting on the situation from the very first moment of the the fire and helping broadcast live the destruction across the globe, has already begun to identify the families that need the most help. We are also working with local authorities to help identify individuals that are most in need of help to disperse funds directly into their bank accounts.

For absolute transparency, no other intermediary authority, either private or public, will have access to the money collected by this fundraiser. The funds’ delivery will be broadcasted live on Facebook for all donors to see exactly where their monies will go, just as Greek Reporter did in the Mati fires.

Diaspora, Organizations of All Kinds Step Up Greece Fire Fundraisers

The members of the Greek diaspora are determined to help in any way that they can; several of the campaigns that have spring up around the world are described here, with links to all of them so that readers may contribute to any or all of them.

The Hellenic Initiative is nearing its ambitious goal in its campaign, counting more than $129,000 in contributions toward their goal of $140,000 as of Wednesday.

The nonprofit organization called Desmos, which already had a fund targeted toward the rebuilding of playgrounds in Attica after the devastating Mati wildfire of 2018, set up another fund for the fires of August, 2021, through which people can donate, here.

AHEPA, one of the foremost Greek fraternal organizations in the Americas, also set up a fund to help the victims of the devastating fires. All those interested may donate to its “Charitable Fund,” via this link. 

Greece Fire fundraiser Evia Island
The evacuation of Pefki, Evia on August 8. Credit: Apostolos Makris / Greek Reporter

“The images and stories coming from Greece are terrifying,” AHEPA Supreme President Kokotas said when announcing the campaign. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this tragedy. We are extremely grateful to Greece’s first responders and to all nations that have offered support and assistance. We will stand with Greece as we did in 2007, 2018, and during other times of great need.”

Meanwhile, individual Greeks of the diaspora are doing their own part, setting up their own GoFundMe pages in an effort to help fire recovery efforts. Melia Kreiling, who was born in Greece but who now lives in the United States, has already met the goal set by her own campaign.

She is giving her funds to the Hellenic Red Cross and the wildlife protection organization called “Anima,” so they can acquire the supplies needed to help the hundreds of victims who have lost everything.

Kreiling had stated that “When the monetary goal is reached, I will post a copy of the bank transfer to these organizations along with personal thank you’s to each and every one who contributes to this page on my social media.”

The Hellenic Red Cross is also doing its part to help the victims of the fires; please donate through its website, here.

Archdiocese of the Americas Announces Fundraiser for Greek Fires

His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Americas, also announced a fund for the fire victims of Greece, calling for all parishioners in the Americas to donate to the cause and encouraging all churches in the archdiocese to take up a special collection this weekend.

He also invites everyone to make a donation to the recovery effort via the archdiocese’s website, here

Elpidophoros noted in his Monday evening email to the faithful that “An accounting of all funds raised for this purpose will be made public, so that every person of goodwill can see how their generosity has effectuated positive results on the ground in Greece.”

“May God, the Comforter, through the Holy Intercessions of the Virgin Mother of God, whose sacred Dormition we will celebrate in a few short days, send speedy relief to the people of Greece, and bring to an end this terrible inferno that continues to devastate our Ellada, την Ελλάδα μας.”

Greece Fire Recovery Efforts in Australia

The enormous Greek diaspora community of Melbourne, Australia also has their own campaign underway for Greek fire relief efforts.

The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, The Greek Precinct Association and the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia have each begun raising funds as a way to support the Hellenic Volunteer Fire Fighting Association (HVFFA).

The three groups issued a joint statement assuring the public that, just as they had done in the devastating fires in Mati in 2018, they will do all they can now to help fellow Greeks recover from the devastation.

“Once again Greek firefighters have been grappling with this unprecedented disaster. They have not only battled the fires but also ensuring residents and animals are evacuated from the areas affected. The magnitude of the disaster had mobilised neighbouring countries, including France, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Sweden, Israel, Romania Switzerland and Poland, to lend support to the firefighting efforts.” the statement said.

“As Australians we understand the devastation of natural disasters, including the recent bushfires which ravaged our eastern States in 2020. We are aware of the fear, anxiety and loss which the people of Greece are now feeling.

The statement concluded by saying “We comprehend the incredible sense of loss of those who have lost their family homes and properties. We appreciate the terror of the Greek people as they face the uncertainty of the blazes, which have ravaged their homeland.”

All those interested in this joint Australian campaign may contribute by going to the GoFundMe campaign that has been set up, or alternatively, through direct deposit for the campaign, to the dedicated account called Greek Community – (Greek Fires) at BSB: 063 023 ACT: 1042 1568.

The destruction on Evia is simply unimaginable and the fire is raging for the ninth day now. While there is no way any fundraiser can bring back what the fire destroyed, some families will be able to find comfort in these difficult moments.

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