The Council of Majorca has announced that it will be launching a co-operation project with the Majorca Solidarity Fund for the Greek island of Chios, which has been swamped by refugees: 17,000 have arrived so far this year. Jesus Jurado, the second vice-president, says that the best way of providing support to refugees arriving via Turkey is through the solidarity fund, of which the Council has been a member since 1993 and through which the budget for international aid is managed.

The fund believes that actions to be taken to meet the humanitarian crisis can be created through a supportive relationship with the local governments on the Greek islands that are most affected by the emergency situation. It is proposing effort be prioritised in supporting the local authorities linked with the Council of Majorca, while not neglecting those areas which don’t attract international media attention but which are affected by the arrival of refugees.

Jurado adds that contact is being maintained with the authorities in Chios and that co-operation projects will target urgent needs identified by the Council, such as child health, waste management and rehabilitation of municipal facilities to take in immigrants. At present, the most basic needs are for food and clothing, with the refugee centres receiving support from charities, NGOs and the European Union.

The initial budget for the aid will be 50,000 euros from the fund’s resources for emergencies. This may increase following a visit to meet other agencies operating on the Greek islands. The money, stresses Jurado, does not impact on other projects that the fund is involved with.

The Council is emphasising the importance of the European Association for Local Democracy (Alda), which is working with local and regional organisations, including the Majorca Solidarity Fund.