By Yiota Raptopoulou and Chrysiis Katsea*
Everyone following the news on Greece has come the last few days across the numerous bank accounts available where you can donate money to assist the survivors of the wildfires in the East Attica region. It is indeed very touching seeing individuals, artists, public benefit foundations, international governments and intergovernmental organisations coming together and supporting the cause. Millions were made available for the relief of the people to the Greek government, the fire-affected municipalities, the Hellenic Red Cross, the Greek section of Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and many other public and private institutions.
This will not be the first time throughout the history of the country that money donated for socio-natural disaster victims has been mismanaged. The same happened back in 2007 with the money raised for the victims of fires in Elis/Ilia. We have to stop this from happening again.
It’s common secret in Greece that this tragedy occurred partly due to the high levels of corruption in the country, which led to irregular infrastructure being developed, which in turn prevented the people from reaching the sea. So, this might be the right time to act; before this happens again. Being really concerned about this situation, we came up with a pretty simple idea, which, however might manage to make a difference if we all work closely together.
We are addressing you today to ask for your support. If you are also concerned about the luck of those donations made for the relief of the fire-affected people, please join us in calling for transparency. Talk to people about your concerns; put pressure on the public and private institutions accepting donations by writing e-mails to them, or by using the social media and the hashtags #ProvideRelief_StayTransparent, #GreeceFires, #AntiCorruption, and by tagging the aforementioned institutions, so, they can receive the call. Also, please join us by signing the relevant petition here.
If we fight corruption today, then we have more chances of staying safe tomorrow.
*Yiota Raptopoulou is an undergraduate student at the department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies at the University of Macedonia, while Chrysiis Katsea is a MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies student at the LSE.