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Here's what we can all do to help ease the migrant crisis

The human tragedy going on across the Mediterranean at present has shocked one and all, but there are practical ways to help.

Italy Migrants A young woman rescued off the coast of Libya pictured offshore of Sardinia Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE SCENES TODAY in Budapest and the tragic deaths yesterday of Syrian children Aylan and Galip Kurdi and ten others serve to underline the extreme nature of the migrant crisis currently facing Europe.

Amid such heart-rending images as have been seen in recent days (and for the last several months in truth), many people would like to help ease the situation in any way they can. 

It must be remembered that the current crisis is not driven by economic migration. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) believes the vast majority – more than 85% – of those crossing the Mediterranean into Europe are refugees, not economic migrants.

As to the number of migrants that Ireland will eventually accept beyond its borders, that is a political decision that has yet to be finalised.

Having said that, there are practical ways in which anyone can help towards easing the suffering being seen:

Donate Donate Donate

Cash donated to non-governmental groups working in the trouble areas is perhaps the most fundamental difference a person at home can make. Here’s a selection, but naturally there are many, many more:

  • Concern Syria Programme – you can donate to the Irish charity’s appeal here
  • Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity is raising money here
  • Irish group Disaster Tech Lab are sending a team to the islands between Greece and Turkey. Their goal is to establish working internet and communications at the sites. You can donate here, while the group are also looking for Irish volunteers
  • The UNHCR can be donated to directly here
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who have three ships operating in the Mediterranean at present, can be donated to here
  • The UN’s childrens’ fund UNICEF has a donation page here
  • A specific fund in the name of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian child who drowned tragically along with his brother and ten others yesterday, has been set up
  • Red Cross Europe, providing support for asylum seekers. Their page is here

Mediterranean migrant crisis Migrants exiting a dinghy at Kos, Greece Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Buy specific goods from an internet wish list

There are a number of wish lists that have been set up online to help ease the supplies issues surrounding the crisis. An Amazon list directed at Calais and Greece can be accessed here. Clothes, food, shelter in the form of tents / tarpaulins – all can be purchased as part of English appeals #KentforCalais and #HelpCalais.

A truck containing everything bought leaves for the crisis zone in two weeks.

Non-monetary donations

Naturally a lot of goods that aren’t readily available and can’t be bought easily over the internet would be especially helpful given the unique nature of the current crisis:

Calais migrant crisis Refugees at the 'New Jungle' camp in Calais, France Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Sign a petition

Governments including those of the UK and Ireland are coming under increasing pressure to do more to help ease the humanitarian crisis. Signing a petition can increase that pressure should you wish to do so.
Uplift.ie have a petition calling for increased numbers of migrants to be allowed into Ireland which has already garnered almost 18,000 signatures. It can be signed here.

Read: Hungarian Prime Minister says migrant crisis is ‘a German problem, not a European one’

Read: Pictures: Desperate mother clings to her baby as police try to bring migrants to camps

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