Vancouver-based businessman and philanthropist Frank Giustra will return to the region this month to continue the work of his non-profit organization, The Radcliffe Foundation, to help Syrian refugees. Giustra has inspired others to help, and joining him in Lesbos, Greece will be members of Vancouver Search and Rescue (VancouverSAR).
“With the urging of my friend Amed Khan, I have seen firsthand the heart-breaking horror of Syrian refugees in the wake of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation,” says Frank Giustra, president, The Radcliffe Foundation. “I have also seen the power of hope, compassion and global citizenship. They need our help and they need it now”.
The Radcliffe Foundation has launched an initiative to provide support abroad to refugees as they escape the Syrian war. The goal is to raise awareness and encourage others to join the Foundation’s efforts by donating in any way they can to the Refugee Crisis Fund. Canadians are known worldwide for their compassion and can truly make a difference. The Fund will support the provision of basic survival needs to refugees living in informal camps in the regions of Greece and Turkey, along with supporting the efforts of Emergency Response Center International (ERCI) and VancouverSAR to enhance search and rescue operations off the island of Lesbos, Greece.
“Syrian families are risking their lives daily by crossing treacherous waters to find safe havens. And the sad truth is many don’t make it,” says Panos G. Moraitis, Founder of ERCI, Emergency Response Center International. “The call of humanity beckons us to do our part to help these families who are leaving everything behind, are unsure of their futures, and simply fighting to survive. With the help of organizations such as The Radcliffe Foundation, we are helping these families one day at a time.”
“After being approached by Mr. Giustra and then in speaking with the ERCI in late February, we have become closely invested in the coordination of rescue efforts on the shores of Lesbos,” said Scott Haig, president, VancouverSAR. “Vancouver Search and Rescue is very happy to be partnering with The Radcliffe Foundation, ERCI, and Global Medic to augment the rescue efforts of families fleeing the conflict in Syria”.
Last week, in partnership with concerned global citizens such as Kayhan Erciyes, Rector of University of Izmir Turkey, Amed Khan and dozens of volunteers, The Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Fund has already provided basic survival provisions to 570 people in 4 informal camps in Torbali, a district within the Izmir Turkey. Many of the three million refugees in Turkey are struggling for basic supplies including clean water, food, clothes, and access to toilets and showers.
Giustra’s visit later this month will be his third after travelling to the Greek island, Lesbos, in November last year to witness the plight of refugees struggling for survival. Soon after that first visit, Giustra took action, and The Radcliffe Foundation made a significant donation of $500,000 to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to build a much needed Reception Centre to help the thousands of Syrian refugees who are arriving in Lesbos daily. The Reception Centre, was built within one month of Giustra’s visit, and provides food, clothes, medical treatment, and essential information about available services on the island and beyond. Giustra’s second trip was in January this year when he visited the Reception Centre in Greece and refugee camps in Turkey.
The Syrian war, now entering its sixth year, has forced an estimated 11.2 million Syrians to flee their homes for safety. More than 4.7 million of these innocent civilians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, and during 2015 more than a million have made dangerous journeys to Europe.