Meet the Container Aid Team

Posted by Nikki

ABOUT FAB HUB 31 and RASI-RINE (Reseau d’Actions Solidaires Internationales & Reseau d’Insertion Nationale des Exiles)

container-teamFollowing the huge success of the social media network group France & Beyond in connecting people to  facilitate (among other things) the collection and distribution of aid for refugees, the FAB HUB 31 was formed by Nikki McArthur. Nikki is based in the countryside of the Haute-Garonne and since September 2015 has been a main collection centre for donations of aid for onward distribution to refugees.

Nikki met Stephanie Poncet-Muenier while volunteering in Dunkirk  in January 2016. Stephanie was in the process of forming a new charity RASI-RINE (Networks for Actions of International Solidarity and for National Integration of Exiles) and invited Nikki to join her as the International Relations Representative for the French-registered charity, which is based in Blagnac, near Toulouse.

Hub31 is now the main collection point for RASI-RINE and France & Beyond supporters. RASI-RINE works in concert with other charities and funding bodies in France, the UK, Syria and elsewhere to deliver aid to refugees.

Donations for container aid come from grassroots supporters, hospitals and other private and public organisations.

Four containers have successfully reached those in need in Syria and two more are planned for this year and early next.

Donations come in the form of used items (clothes, tents etc), medical and hygiene supplies (unused medicines, nappies etc) and food, as well as more substantial medical equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs and ambulances.

For details on how you can contribute to the next container of aid, please click here or visit our Facebook pages RASI-RINE and FAB HUB 31

ABOUT PEOPLE TO PEOPLE SOLIDARITY

RASI-RINE work closely with People To People Solidarity (P2PS) who are our main link to other similar groups in the UK and charities able to help fund and facilitate our container projects.

P2PS is an umbrella grassroots Facebook and offline movement of ordinary, everyday people each doing what they can to help refugees across Europe and the Middle East.

During the 2015 European refugee crisis there was a well documented grassroots response which sought to fill in the gaps where aid agencies simply couldn’t. As these groups evolved they developed the capacity to ship container aid. Now there are circa 15 UK-wide groups (in addition to RASI-RINE in France) sending a steady flow of containers to Greece, Syria and Lebanon – the three countries where we can send humanitarian aid tax exempt. Lebanon is our most recent development.

Whether from the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall, London or Toulouse, all groups are united by the principle of easing suffering for refugees, particularly with no end in sight to the Syrian civil war.

These groups are increasingly sophisticated in reach, even having sent lifesaving medical equipment such as baby incubators and dialysis machines to Syria, where the medical infrastructure is decimated.

People To People Solidarity has around 6500 members in the main Europe and Middle East response group. The groups have a strong ability to fundraise but need to grow business relationships in order to become even more efficient in shipping aid. Aid is usually shipped through charity partners, in the case of this Lebanon project the partner charity is
Muslims In Need.

We are not a political movement, although we look for political solutions.
We are not a religious organisation, although we welcome all religions.
We recognise that we are all different, but that we all have something to give, and something to learn.
We are, above all, believers in the power of together.

Visit the People to People FB page to find out more

ABOUT MUSLIMS IN NEED

Muslims In Need is a UK-registered charity whose aim is to deliver humanitarian and medical aid to Muslims suffering in various parts of the world.

Muslims in Need works towards projects such as helping orphans and widows, families, refugees, schools, hospitals and dawah organisations. One of the current projects is container aid whereby essential items and donations are collected in various locations in the UK and France.

Ambulances are also purchased and sent in containers by sea to Syria. Donations are trackable from the moment they are given to the moment they are handed over on Facebook and Twitter where progress is updated regularly.

Muslims in Need are funding the latest container delivery to Lebanon in concert with RASI-RINE and France and Beyond.

http://www.muslimsinneed.org/

ABOUT SALAM LADC

SALAM LADC is the charity who will be receiving the donations we send to Lebanon.  The goal of this NGO is to bring together a host of large and small organisations (both local and international), volunteers and grassroots initiatives to successfully channel aid and more to where it is needed across Lebanon. Salam works to improve the lives of refugees in Lebanon in many ways: by supporting the education of refugees’ children; by distributing aid including medical aid and even livestock to afford refugees greater food security; by creating the conditions for better integration of refugees into Lebanese society (social events, helping municipal services, first aid training).

The expert on-the-ground knowledge of Salam and their extensive network of partners are essential in assuring NGOs such as Muslims in Need and RASI-RINE, as well as their supporters, of the effective and safe delivery of aid to where it is most needed in Lebanon and into the hands of those most in need.

https://www.salamladc.org/

What’s happening in Lebanon

Posted by Nikki

We thought we’d provide some context about what’s happening in Lebanon to better explain why there is an urgent need for aid there. Thanks to Collette Ridley, from France and Beyond / RASI-RINE HUB31, for this report.

Remember Beirut? The Lebanese city of Beirut was a constant feature in the news throughout the eighties. I remember TV reports peppered with scenes of sectarian violence, car bombs and political assassinations.

In the 16 years since the end of the civil war, the tiny country of Lebanon (the size of Cornwall) has been quietly dragging itself from the rubble out of sight of news cameras. The religious and political divisions are still ever-present though and have made recovery slow and difficult.

Lebanese infrastructure is fragile and, as with any emerging nation, corruption and state incompetence are rife. Against such a backdrop, it seems improbable that this smallest of Middle Eastern countries should be host to the second highest number of Syrians displaced by the Syrian civil war. Yet it’s not hard to see why. Lebanon shares borders with Palestine and Syria and, despite problems at home, the warm Lebanese people have opened their arms to Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

SYRIAN REFUGEES

lebanon

Incomers to Lebanon have swollen the population by nearly half – the UNHCR estimates 1.8 million refugees for a local population of just 4 million.

In a controversial move last year, the buckling Lebanese state closed its borders to refugees. Since then, the UNHCR has been unable to register new refugees (an estimated 500,000 people) on the official refugee lists, thus denying them rights to basic benefits for food and healthcare.

An estimated 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in a state of extreme poverty on a mere 70 cents a day (the UN poverty line is $US1.90). These displaced people have little to eat and the quality of water is poor. Refugees have inadequate access to healthcare, and they cannot afford to go to hospital (Lebanon has a privatised healthcare system). Unsurprisingly, the universal health problems and infectious diseases of the poor have raised their ugly heads: malnutrition, cholera, polio, birth defects, and eye and ear infections.

The lightweight, unsewered shacks refugees make for themselves (there are no official refugee camps) are hopelessly ill-suited to either the 40oC plus days of high summer or the freezing conditions of winter. Old and young alike are dying of exposure.

The Lebanese are doing what they can, but the sheer weight of numbers on already inadequate public services such schools, hospitals and even refuse collections has led to a meltdown in provision.

An inevitable uptick in civil unrest in response to this chaos has forced the country to call out for aid, but the world sits by and little is being done. The UNHCR hopes to raise $US1.9 billion to help Lebanon deal with Syrian refugees, but to date less than half that target has been met.

GEOPOLITICS

Lebanon sits precariously on the edge of the greatest conflict of our times. In the Middle East the high-income countries of Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have offered to resettle a total of zero refugees. The wealthy countries of Western Europe, along with the US, would prefer to take none.

Few in the world want to host victims of the Syrian conflict, yet no one is supporting Lebanon do so. Lebanon is alone shouldering the crippling economic demands and demographic changes that nearly 2 million refugees represent to such a small country.

Even so, the role of Lebanon, alongside Turkey and Jordan, is crucial to what happens next. These countries form a buffer zone for refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict. Without Lebanon, Syrians would face a stark choice: go north and west towards Europe, or stay and die.

As the Lebanese watch some of the world’s youngest and most vulnerable refugees helpless in face of the poverty and suffering from malnutrition, disease and exposure, they ask themselves: where is the rest of the world?

CALL TO ACTION

Now is the moment for the world to help Lebanon hold the chalice rejected by so many others. While governments are frozen by inaction as people are dying, you don’t have to be. You can be part of an effective grassroots movement to throw a lifeline to those most in need in Lebanon. Here is how you can make a difference in the greatest humanitarian crisis facing the world today:

Click here for details on how you can help.

Welcome!

Posted by Kathryn

Events over the last two months in Calais and further afield have left us appalled. Hearing about the conditions in The Jungle as winter approaches and then seeing the streams of refugees heading to Europe has spurred many of us on to do all we can to help these individuals and families, stepping in where our elected governments won’t. Continue reading