COMMUNITY

People doing what they can, where they can

IOANNA FOTIADI

TAGS: Fires, Initiative

She got into her car soon as she finished work on Tuesday afternoon, laden with donations made by friends and relatives, and headed out to the municipal indoor gymnasium of Rafina in eastern Attica. It was not the first time that Selena Gomez, a member of the Glyfada branch of the Greek Guiding Association had headed to a disaster site to help in day-after crisis management.

“I became a part of the human chain, unloading trucks of humanitarian aid, opening boxes and recording each donation in detail,” the 35-year-old told Kathimerini.

With 14 years of experience in the Guides, Gomez is a great stickler for precision and organization, knowing that it ultimately saves energy and time. “The volume of donations is really impressive. But it is important to inform the public that what the victims need is not always the stuff we consider obvious. There is no power here, so they need flashlights and batteries. There is also a great need for plastic dinnerware for the soup kitchens feeding victims, volunteers and rescuers.”

A different human chain has been forming at many hospitals in Athens as hundreds of members of the public turn up to offer blood. Matina, 35, went to Elpis and Aghios Savvas after getting off work on Tuesday afternoon, but was told that they had reached capacity. “I came back today and there’s a line of around 50 people already so they asked if I could try early tomorrow,” she told Kathimerini from the Aghios Savvas Hospital at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The galvanizing effect of the images of the east Attica disaster also pushed 19-year-old Vassilis Katsifolis into action. “Disaster can strike anywhere and kill me or a person close to me,” he said.

“This incident pushed me to give blood for the first time and now I plan to become a regular donor,” said Katsifolis after returning from the hospital in his native Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese, where he went on Wednesday morning with a friend.

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