This summer I was fortunate enough to visit the Greek island of Evia (northern part) and admire its mesmerising beauty for the first and last time. Only three days after leaving, catastrophic and uncontrollable wildfires broke out, turning to ashes every single tree and ancient forests that so far had managed to survived the passage of time. What was once one of the crown gems in Greece's natural forest reserves treasury, exists no more and what is left behind is more than 51 ha (or 5 million sqm) of burned forest and agricultural land, more than a third of the total forest area of the island, scorched earth from one side of the island to the other.
This has been the worst ecological disaster that Greece has faced in its modern day history and this is without taking into account the destroyed lives and local economy of thousands of families that have been displaced with their futures annihilated. Communities, that their livelihood was directly and completely intertwined with the luscious nature that surrounded them, living in a balanced and sustainable way are now not only deprived of their economy but of their surroundings and even their breathing oxygen. Resin collectors, bee keepers, farmers, sustainable logging and tourism all dependent on the ever giving forests that surrounded them are left without a future driven away from their homes.
Climate change is here and is making bold statements for the countries that are affected, creating the first environmental refugees and opening the path for land desertification and a very bleak future if no action is taken. This has been my wake up call to not sit still but act to try to prevent any further damage, restore part of the damage that has been done and extend my hand to communities that have suffered beyond what words can describe. The same communities that demonstrated tremendous courage amidst the uncontrolled wildfires, taking matters into their hands and risking their lives to protect the forests and their homeland.
Bring life back to Evia project is an emergency fund set up to help and support restoring the environment, land and victims from the great fires of August 2021 on the Greek Island of Evia, Greece. Hundreds of homes have turned to ashes and this has been the greatest ecological disaster in the island with the impacts still not fully assessed. The Fund will offer support to national emergency services, NGOs active in the area, individual volunteers, the forestry department of Evia and provide direct relief to the families who lost their primary home and source of income from the fires on Evia. Every amount that is raised will be donated to support the victims of these terrible wildfires and help the affected areas.
How much we want to raise:
We hope to raise as much funds as possible to directly:
- Donate to local NGOs and national emergency services that will work on flood protection projects in the high risk areas that are left without the natural flood protection that forests provided for
- Collaborate with the forestry department in Evia to purchase tree samplings for the areas that require reforestation work
- Help as many families as we can that are currently homeless from the fire and support them in building back their business with the direction and help of local authorities to identify the families that need these funds the most. We will also work with the local authorities to identify those individuals and their financial situation. The funds will be broken up to even increments and dispersed directly to the bank accounts of the fire victims.
The destruction the island has suffered is absolutely heart breaking and simply unimaginable. No amount of money could bring back what the fire turned to ashes, but it can be a small positive start for restoring the environmental damage and slowly bringing life back to this part of the island.
The funds will be handed directly to the victims. No other intermediary "authority," private or public, will have access to the funds collected by this fundraiser.
Thank you so much for considering to help the fire victims of Evia and the affected forest areas.