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Fires in Greece: a wave of solidarity

 19-09-2018

On Monday 23 July 2018 a fire broke out in the region of Eastern Attica, in Greece. Since the gusts of wind reached up to 124 km per hour, the fire spread rapidly. The fire resulted in 98 dead and almost 3,500 burnt houses. Aside from the human losses, the fire destroyed a huge forest range and caused serious damages to the infrastructure of water, electricity and telecommunications.

In every natural disaster, people instinctively help each other. This event has mobilized a large number of civil society organizations and many citizens who wants to help. Especially in Greece, the spontaneous mutual solidarity is an inborn characteristic of our population, yet this is not enough. Without any kind of predefined program, many various goods, including food, were collected but the major challenge was the synchronization of all these different actions. Cataloguing and managing the needs of the victims, by the local authorities, was a very slow process at the beginning. Even today there are still serious difficulties: the number of needed meals change day by day and some families have found temporary shelters with relatives or friends in other parts of Attica. The greatest need is the establishment of a functional network of aid, which can be able to deliver meals with flexibility, in the long term and ensuring a good management. As Greek Food Bank, we feel the responsibility to be present and give our best contribution. We possess the infrastructure, the experience, and the social sensitivity. Companies trust us, and we can ensure a continuous flow of food to every soup kitchen and local charity. Furthermore, we can deliver the food not only to people affected by this disaster but also to other fellow citizens in need. In this way nothing is wasted.

As time passes the need for food is consolidated. Currently the Greek Food Bank, thanks to donors, can support the daily preparation of 350 meals. This number is volatile depending on the fulfillment, the initiatives and abilities of the authorities and organizations to perform.

The Greek Food Bank cooperates and works closely with local charities, which already existed and know the idiosyncrasies of the area. We received help, in this regard, from many companies in Greece. Messages of assistance and support arrived from all over Europe. For example, the Food Bank in Lyon spontaneously sent 10 palettes with foodstuffs, and New Aryzta Greece SA offered 75 palettes of their products to cover the needs for a six-month period. We thank them very much!

Dimitris Nentas

General Manager of the Greek Food Bank

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