'˜We'll be there as the boats land at Lesbos'
IT’S the front line of the refugee crisis in Europe where thousands of people arrive each week.
The Greek island of Lesbos has been the scene of terrible loss of life where makeshift boats full of desperate people have sunk.
Now two workers from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are heading out to help.
Paramedic Stian Mohrsen and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust nurse Nikki McDonald, will be putting their clinical skills to use in the Mediterranean.
They are volunteering for 10 days to work as part of a 24-7 emergency medical team responding to refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Stian and Nikki are taking annual leave from their day jobs and will be volunteering as part of the Medics Bergen team, an NGO (non-governmental organisation) which has already sent out over 100 healthcare professionals to several parts of the world. They fly out to Lesbos on October 20.
Stian said: ‘Nikki and I will be part of a team patrolling the shores of the north side of Lesbos, near Skala.
‘It will be our job to respond to areas where boats carrying refugees land, evacuate those people from the boats, triage them and provide medical and humanitarian care to anyone who needs it.
‘As a 24-7 operation, we will be working in shifts so our 10 days there will be hard work, but we are looking forward to it.’
Nikki added: ‘Medics Bergen has been sending qualified, volunteer medical personnel from all over the world to the island of Lesbos since November 2015.
‘The media focus has moved on over the last year or so but thousands of refugees are still making the journey on boats and rafts which are often dangerously unseaworthy.
‘Those that do make it to shore are often very tired and have illnesses and injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.
‘There is very little ambulance cover on Lesbos and many adults and children wouldn’t survive without urgent medical help being available on the beach.’
With all the money raised by Medics Bergen being directed towards rescue and medical equipment, Stian and Nikki are funding their own expenses for travel, accommodation and meals during their stay.
They have set up a secure, online fundraising site for anyone who would like to make a contribution to their £1,200 costs.
Donations can be made at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/emergency-health-care-for-refugees-in-greece.