Thursday 22 February 2018

Goal appeals for clothing and blankets as winter looms

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

Irish aid agency Goal yesterday said that public donations of blankets, sleeping bags and jackets were among the winter garments most needed for Syrian refugees

Several firms have teamed up with aid agency Goal to fill humanitarian aid flights from Dublin to Turkey.

More than 7.6 million have fled their homes inside Syria since the war began almost five years ago, with a further four million living as refugees in neighbouring countries, many in tents exposed to the elements.

Items (preferably new) needed include blankets or quilts, sleeping bags, bed sheets, pillow and quilt covers; adult and children's jackets; thermal socks, hats, scarves and new underwear; plastic floor carpets; and adult and children's waterproof boots.

They can be dropped off at participating Topaz service stations, where they will be couriered to Dublin Airport by MasterLink Logistics, warehoused by the DAA and flown with Turkish Airlines.

MasterLink will transport the items from Istanbul to GOAL's partner organisations.

"This initiative provides the Irish public with a real and lasting way to support vulnerable families now who may not be able to leave their own country," said Goal's Barry Andrews.

"I would urge the Irish public to do what they can over the coming days and try to help us protect as many people as possible in the coming months."

Also yesterday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was said to be poised to step up his efforts to get a faster response from the 28-member nations to the refugee crisis. Later today, he will unveil a plan for more than 120,000 people fleeing conflict zones like Syria.

But many eastern European and Baltic nations oppose being told to host refugees on their soil.

"Any proposal leading to the introduction of mandatory and permanent quotas for solidarity measures would be unacceptable," the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland said in a joint statement last week.

They have already rejected a previous EU attempt to share 40,000 refugees, only a fraction of what Mr Juncker is seeking now. In Vienna, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann stressed countries opposed to taking in refugees under an EU-wide quota system should suffer financial penalties.

Mr Faymann said it was "unacceptable that some nations, because they are not personally affected, refuse to work on a joint solution" to the influx of migrants into the EU.

His comments appear to be aimed at countries like Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, which oppose accepting refugees under a quota system.

Irish Independent

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