City bursting with support in wake of refugee crisis

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

PICTURES: Portsmouth shows its support with celebrations on Armed Forces Day

  • Portsmouth residents’ overwhelming reaction to refugee crisis leaves aid sites bursting
  • Five tonnes were donated in little over 24 hours
  • City council called to step in to offer bigger depots
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A STUNNING display of generosity has overwhelmed a team of Good Samaritans in Portsmouth battling to help Syrian refugees.

So much has been given that the city council has agreed to pay for extra storage space.

The council is also offering a van and driver to take daily deliveries from the drop-off points in Southsea to the storage depot.

Tory council leader Donna Jones said she was pleased to be able to lend a helping hand.

She said: ‘Residents have really stepped up to the plate and have been so generous in what they’ve donated,

‘It’s great that these things are being provided directly to those in need.

It has restored my faith in humanity and has made me proud of the people of Portsmouth.

Yaz Atia, of Southsea

‘I’m sure that the city will continue to rally and help those who have left their homes with nothing.’

Yaz Atia is one of the founders of the Don’t Hate, Donate group, which was set up in the wake of the migrant crisis and is co-ordinating and delivering the donations.

When the 28-year-old appealed for donations to be made to the Al’Burrito takeaway in Albert Road, Southsea, he never dreamt it would spark such an impressive show of goodwill.

Yaz, of Southsea, said: ‘We’ve just been overwhelmed by the response.

‘It has restored my faith in humanity and has made me proud of the people of Portsmouth.’

The council heard of Yaz’s plight after the Mexican takeaway and various lock-ups ran out of space for more supplies.

Yaz said he was delighted by the council’s support.

‘What they managed to provide in such a short timeframe is beyond our wildest expectations,’ he said.

He added since starting the aid effort, he now has a team of about 50 people.

These include volunteers, doctors, nurses, administration staff and delivery drivers.

His previous donation run saw him delivering aid to refugees in Calais, last week.

But his next mission is set to see him and his team travelling deeper into Europe.

He hopes to head to Greece next, using an articulated lorry to transport the goods.

Drop-off points for those wanting to donate are at Al’Burritto, Made With Hartt, in Elm Grove, Southsea, and Thousands Hill chilli sauce factory in Fareham.

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