Refugee tragedy continues, volunteers help refugees arriving in boats
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULSep 19, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Sep 19, 2015 12:00 am
The refugee tragedy in Turkey continues despite the efforts of the coast guard and humanitarian relief organizations working to rescue refugees trying to reach European countries with unseaworthy boats. Unfortunately, a boat carrying illegal refugees sank off the Çeşme shore in İzmir. According to information gathered from news agencies, Çeşme Gendarmerie Command and Çeşme Coast Guards established a search party after receiving a tip off about a refugee boat that sank. The Coast Guard managed to save 14 Syrians, including eight children. However, the gendarmerie discovered the dead body of a 4-year-old Syrian girl who was found on the shores of Altınkoy. Despite recent efforts to better protect children refugees since the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi – the boy who became the face of Europe's migrant crisis when the shocking image of his lifeless body washed up on the beach made headlines around the world – human smugglers continue to put refugees on small and unsafe boats.
Another shipwreck occurred in Kuşadası; however, this time no lives were lost. Vedat Kazancıoğlu, a Kuşadası-based captain, saved six refugees whose boats were about to sink around Samos Island of Greece. While Kazancıoğlu was fishing on his boat, he discovered the distressed refugees and took them onboard, saving their lives. On the other hand, hundreds of refugees continue to wait in Edirne hoping to cross the border. Yesterday, Edirne Governor Ali Şahin visited the refugees and said only Turkey and Jordan have opened their borders to Syrian refugees. "We told them that we will send them if European countries allow them within their borders, but unfortunately no such announcement has been made. It is our primary duty to attend to their needs," Şahin said. Following his statement, a group of refugees began marching to the Edirne city center, but the gendarme stopped them before they could reach their destination.
European volunteers have also mobilized to help refugees wanting to start anew in Europe away from war and conflict. Although some of the Syrians are lucky enough to survive the often dangerous voyage from the Turkish shores to the Greek islands, they ones who reach safely still suffer from hunger and health problems as well as a lack of shelter. A great number of refugees, including the elderly, ailing and pregnant as well as babies, have to spend their nights on the streets and walk thousands of kilometers to reach their dream destination. The dire conditions of Syrians, many of whom cannot feed themselves, receive any medical treatments and take showers, have prompted thousands of European volunteers to act. Volunteers coming to the Greek Island of Lesbos, one of the main transit points for Syrians traveling to north European countries, offer food and clothes to refugees arriving at the island after their long journey from Turkey. Every day, the volunteers travel to the shores of Lesbos and look out for refugee boats with binoculars. The volunteers, who are trying to lead the refugees to them when they see a boat, help Syrians, especially women and children, to unload the boat safely. As the refugees get wet during the journey, volunteers offer them dry clothes, new shoes and hats to protect them from the sun along with sandwiches, fruits and water.
Those needing a shower are directed to the portable showers on the island and receive information about the refugee registration process and how to get to the mainland. The group of European volunteers also consists of medical doctors who offer their services to refugees. If their injuries or illnesses are severe enough, the doctors check refugees in to hospitals after receiving permission from Greek authorities.