Search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) has received EUR1 million in donations from across the world in a 48-hour period, in the wake of the heartbreaking photo of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washing up dead on a Turkish beach going viral on social media.
MOAS has been among many non-governmental organisations to receive a tidal wave of support globally, including from the US, UK, Turkey, Germany and Brazil.
“One photo has changed people’s hearts and minds the world over. We are all now realising this is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions and we need all hands on deck. People are donating to charities like ours because they want to do something concrete to help. It is time world leaders get together to do the same,” said MOAS Director Martin Xuereb and Malta’s former Chief of Defence.
“These donations will have big implications on our small but very effective organisation. We may be able to expand our mission’s reach to other parts of the Mediterranean and beyond. Our long-term vision is to enhance our capabilities to mitigate loss of life all year round.
“At the moment, our current levels of funding limit us to one vessel operating for six months every year, and we have already saved so many lives. Imagine what we can do with significantly more funding,” he added.
Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign has been launched on Indiegogo to help buy at least one more boat for MOAS. The campaign entitled, #PeoplesArmada, is seeking to raise an extra US$3 million and can be found at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/people-s-armada#/story. The operational costs of MOAS are upwards of EUR500,000 each month.
“Well over 90 percent of the funds we receive are spent directly on saving lives. To this end, we keep our administration costs down to a bare minimum. We will make sure all funds raised are pumped into a direct effort to save refugees from certain death,” pledged Mr Xuereb.
In a related development, the Avaaz.org community has raised an additional EUR500,000 following an online appeal to its large member database with thousands worldwide responding to its appeal. A fundraising activity in Germany has also helped raised EUR250,000 thanks to the efforts of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Caritas and committed humanitarian Rupert Neudeck.
Furthermore, Jurgen Wagentrotz, a German national and himself once a refugee, will be donating EUR180,000 to MOAS by the end of October. This figure will be matched by Oil and Gas Invest, the company he chairs.