Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Nottingham mother plans trip to Kos to help refugees fleeing Isis

Published 18/08/2015

Rachel Miller on an earlier visit to a refugee camp in Turkey
Rachel Miller on an earlier visit to a refugee camp in Turkey

A mother is using her family holiday savings to travel to Kos and deliver aid to some of the thousands of desperate refugees fleeing Isis.

Rachel Miller, 39, will fly with suitcases of supplies including sun cream, nappies, sanitary products and clothing to hand out to homeless families amid the growing refugee crisis on the island.

The UN Refugee Agency said the number of migrants and refugees risking their lives to travel to Greece by boat has accelerated dramatically, with just under 21,000 arriving last week alone - 82% of which were Syrians.

The island is creaking under the pressure of coping with the influx, with the total number who have arrived this year at just under 160,000.

Many have been camped outside a make-shift registration centre in miserable conditions waiting to receive temporary travel papers.

Mrs Miller, a former social worker who worked in child protection, said she felt compelled to scrap her holiday and use the money to help families after researching potential destinations in Greece for a beach break.

The mother-of-two, who met her Kurdish husband in Turkey, visited a Turkish refugee camp in May while visiting relatives and was struck by the "horrifying" stories of Yezidi communities escaping war.

"I was looking into Kos as a place to go on holiday which led me to start following the refugee situation.

"I just knew there was no way I could lie on a beach knowing that there were thousands of people living rough with nothing just down the road.

"I was already gathering aid supplies to take back to Turkey but I thought I need to help these people, they are only four hours away.

A girl cries as hundreds of migrants gather for a registration procedure at the stadium of Kos town, on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
A girl cries as hundreds of migrants gather for a registration procedure at the stadium of Kos town, on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
A policeman (2nd-R) pushes a migrant as hundreds wait to complete a registration procedure by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS A migrant carries his child on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece in an inflatable raft, on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Policemen try to disperse hundreds of migrants by spraying them with fire extinguishers during a gathering for a registration procedure at the stadium on the Greek island of Kos, on August 11, 2015. Police on the Greek island on Kos hit migrants with truncheons to prevent a stampede, a day after an officer was caught on camera slapping a migrant. The incident occurred as hundreds of migrants were being relocated to a local football stadium, after camping alongside roads and beaches across the island for weeks. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to be registered by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. Tensions on the tourist island are high with its mayor claiming there were 7,000 migrants stranded on Kos, which has a population of only 30,000 people. A Kos police officer was suspended on August 10 after being filmed slapping and shoving migrants queueing outside the local police station as they waited to be documented so they could go on to Athens. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Greek police stand guard as hundreds of migrants wait to complete a registration procedure by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. Tensions on the tourist island are high with its mayor claiming there were 7,000 migrants stranded on Kos, which has a population of only 30,000 people. A Kos police officer was suspended on August 10 after being filmed slapping and shoving migrants queueing outside the local police station as they waited to be documented so they could go on to Athens. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant drinks water as he waits with hundreds of others to complete a registration procedure by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. Tensions on the tourist island are high with its mayor claiming there were 7,000 migrants stranded on Kos, which has a population of only 30,000 people. A Kos police officer was suspended on August 10 after being filmed slapping and shoving migrants queueing outside the local police station as they waited to be documented so they could go on to Athens. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A policeman pushes a migrant as hundreds wait to complete a registration procedure by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. Tensions on the tourist island are high with its mayor claiming there were 7,000 migrants stranded on Kos, which has a population of only 30,000 people. A Kos police officer was suspended on August 10 after being filmed slapping and shoving migrants queueing outside the local police station as they waited to be documented so they could go on to Athens. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to be registered by the police at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait behind a fence outside a stadium in order to be registered by the police on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants gather outside the stadium where they go through a registration procedure by the police on the Greek island of Kos on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece in an inflatable raft, on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants get out of an inflatable boat on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants hug one another after getting out of an inflatable boat on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants get out of an inflatable boat on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 12, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. The UN refugee agency's division for Europe said 124,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Greece since the beginning of the year. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants flash the "V for Victory" sign as they arrive in a boat on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 11, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant holds his child as they arrive on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 11, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wearing life jackets arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on August 11, 2015. The number of migrants and refugees arriving on Greece's shores has exploded this year, but the Mediterranean country provides virtually no reception facilities and leaves them wallowing in "totally shameful" conditions, a UN official said on August 7. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait for a registration procedure at the stadium on the Greek island of Kos, on August 11, 2015. Police on the Greek island on Kos hit migrants with truncheons to prevent a stampede, a day after an officer was caught on camera slapping a migrant. The incident occurred as hundreds of migrants were being relocated to a local football stadium, after camping alongside roads and beaches across the island for weeks. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant child cries (C) during a registration procedure at the stadium on the Greek island of Kos, on August 11, 2015. Police on the Greek island on Kos hit migrants with truncheons to prevent a stampede, a day after an officer was caught on camera slapping a migrant. The incident occurred as hundreds of migrants were being relocated to a local football stadium, after camping alongside roads and beaches across the island for weeks. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Policemen try to disperse hundreds of migrants by spraying them with fire extinguishers during a gathering for a registration procedure at the stadium on the Greek island of Kos, on August 11, 2015. Police on the Greek island on Kos hit migrants with truncheons to prevent a stampede, a day after an officer was caught on camera slapping a migrant. The incident occurred as hundreds of migrants were being relocated to a local football stadium, after camping alongside roads and beaches across the island for weeks. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A policeman confronts a migrant with a truncheon during a registration procedure at the stadium on the Greek island of Kos on August 11, 2015. Police on the Greek island on Kos hit migrants with truncheons to prevent a stampede, a day after an officer was caught on camera slapping a migrant. The incident occurred as hundreds of migrants were being relocated to a local football stadium, after camping alongside roads and beaches across the island for weeks. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINISANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images
A policeman tries to disperse hundreds of migrants by spraying them with a fire extinguisher, during a registration procedure which was taken place at the stadium of Kos town, on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Fights broke out among migrants on the Greek island of Kos Tuesday, where overwhelmed authorities are struggling to contain increasing numbers of people arriving clandestinely on rubber dinghies from the nearby Turkish shore. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Police officers try to make space as migrants queuing for a registration procedure inside a stadium in Kos, on the Greek southeastern island of Kos, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Locked in a sunbaked football stadium without food, drinking water or sanitation, about 1,000 refugees queued for hours Wednesday to register with overwhelmed Greek authorities on the holiday island of Kos, now at the forefront of a humanitarian crisis sweeping the financially broken country. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Syrian migrants and refugees gather at a makeshift migrant detention center at Kos' abandoned football stadium after crossing from Turkey, at the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Locked in an abandoned football stadium without food, drinking water or sanitation, about 1,000 refugees queued for hours Wednesday to register with overwhelmed Greek authorities on the holiday island of Kos, at the forefront of a humanitarian crisis sweeping the financially broken country. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: Migrants climb a wall of the national stadium where a registration exercise for the migrants is taking place on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: A Syrian refugee gesticulates as Syrian refugees are pushed by riot police trying to maintain an orderly line during a registration procedure at the national stadium on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: A Greek riot police officer stands guard as migrants and refugees wait to be registered at the national stadium on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: A Greek riot police officer stands guard as migrants and refugees wait to be registered at the national stadium on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: Migrants climb a wall of the national stadium where a registration exercise for the migrants is taking place on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: A father protects his children while migrants and refugees are pushed as riot police try to maintain an orderly line during a registration exercise at the national stadium on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
KOS, GREECE - AUGUST 12: Greek riot police officers stand guard as migrants and refugees wait to be registered at the national stadium on August 12, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Greek police used fire extinguishers and batons to keep migrants in check on the island after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including children, were awaiting their immigration papers. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

"Some people say to me 'you can't change the world', and I can't, but I can help some individual people."

Mrs Miller, from Nottingham, said she hopes to track down a Kurdish refugee family she has heard of who are living rough with their baby who has Down's syndrome.

She will also go armed with supplies of sun cream for children burning in the blistering heat and sanitary supplies for women and children.

She added: "It was heartbreaking visiting the camp in Turkey, people were asking me to take their children home.

"You can't imagine the stories they tell you about what they have fled from, it is horrific, and then they have nothing in these camps.

"These are the same people just in a different place, with no support. I just want to do something personal to help."

Mrs Miller has raised £1,025 in public donations for aid through a fundraising page on GoFundMe.com called "help for Kos refugees".

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph