Two ambulances donated by Old Firm arrive on Greek island of Lesbos to help thousands of refugees
- 06:00, 20 OCT 2015
- UPDATED 10:20, 20 OCT 2015
- BY ANNIE BROWN
THE vehicles, emblazoned with the insignia of Rangers and Celtic, will be an emergency response for the coast where thousands of refugees have landed.
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s former deputy leader, with the ambulances
TWO ambulances donated by the Old Firm arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos to help the thousands of refugees landing there.
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s former deputy leader, travelled with the ambulances in a two-day journey across Europe to the island.
The vehicles, emblazoned with the insignia of Rangers and Celtic, will be an emergency response for the coast.
At the hamlet of Sikaminea thousands of refugees have come ashore after risking the four-mile crossing from Turkey.
A surge in numbers is expected as refugees try to reach Europe before winter makes the journey even more hazardous.
The ambulances will be manned by crews from the International Rescue Committee.
Lesbos is a small island and it has only three ambulances to deal with its own population.
Two of those were this week broken down and out of action.
The Glasgow clubs paid £17,000 each for the ambulances after Sarwar launched the Glasgow Cares appeal.
He said: “We set up the Glasgow Cares appeal with the ambition of raising money and delivering the ambulances within two weeks.
“Because of immense generosity in large part from Rangers and Celtic, we have been able to deliver a week ahead of schedule. The need is urgent, every day counts.”
Rowan Cody, IRC’s co-ordinator in Lesbos, said: “It is wonderful that this has happened so quickly and that people care so much about what is happening here.
“This could so easily be a forgotten crisis.”
This week as refugees arrived on the island there were numerous cases of hypothermia, two men had broken legs and one woman had a cardiac arrest at sea and had to be resuscitated on the beach.
The ambulances will be crewed by Greek health professionals and will also be used to trasport locals on Lesbos.
The number of refugees arriving in Europe has trebled in the last year to 600,000 and the majority are coming across the Mediterranean.
More than 3000 have died making the crossing this year.
Anas Sarwar trip to Lesvos
We’re here at the coast in Lesvos!! Promise delivered.
Just supported people off a boat, can’t help but get emotional.#GlasgowCares
Ambulances successfully loaded on ferry in Athens. Now starting 12 hour journey to Lesvos. Good opportunity to reflect, enjoy beautiful views and get some much needed sleep.
A couple of days ago Human Rights Watch asked why not a single ambulance team had come to help in Lesvos. Tomorrow we correct that wrong. #GlasgowCares
We’re in Athens!! We left Glasgow at 5.30am on Friday and set off in the ambulances at 12.30pm from Holland – over 36 hours and 2000 miles later we finally made it. So proud of Irfan, Morad and Asim for their commitment and positivity throughout. May all their efforts be rewarded.
We took constant encouragement from the kind messages from friends and family in Glasgow. Thank you!!
Journey not over yet though…… At 8pm tonight we board for a 12 hour ferry journey to Lesvos!! So tomorrow morning these ambulances can get to work.
Boys looking pretty good for having only slept 3 hours no?
UPDATE: Currently being held at Bulgarian border. They have done thorough checks on the vehicles (which they think are brilliant), our paperwork (all sound), our backgrounds (some things you can’t deny lol) and they love Celtic and Rangers branding on ambulances. Still waiting though….. Starting to get slightly nervous about timelines. Team are still in great spirits. #GlasgowCares
That’s us halfway to Athens with the 2 ambulances for refugees. Just passed into Hungary having been through Holland, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Max. 90 mins sleep in the last 24 hours but nothing compared to the struggle of refugee families.
Wish us luck!! This morning we have set off on a road trip of 1,760 miles through Europe driving these life-saving ambulances to Athens in order to get the ferry over to Lesvos on Sunday evening. We will be driving through Holland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia and finally Greece.
Please watch and share our message of thanks to Glasgow.
Thank you to my amazing team
BREAKING NEWS: Rangers and Celtic charity foundations commit £34,000 to buy an ambulance each for “Glasgow Cares” to help save Refugees lives. The whole of Glasgow should be proud of this incredible generosity.
This is the ambulances that will be working in Lesvos from Monday, proudly displaying a message of friendship and solidarity from Glasgow.
Today I launched “GLASGOW CARES” – Medical Aid for Refugees.
We have set an ambitious target of raising £35,000 within the next two weeks in order to acquire and then deliver two ambulances to the Greek Island of Lesvos.
There are 4000 refugees arriving every day on Lesvos. Many with hypothermia, minor fractures and other health conditions.
We will be purchasing the ambulances and teaming them up with full time paramedics and medical support staff provided by the IRC.
Please share, donate and let’s show that Glasgow cares!!