The devastating fires that broke out in the summer of 2018 in East Attica (in the communities of Rafina, Marathonas, Nea Makri, Mati and Neos Voutzas) mobilised both corporate and private donors, who wished to contribute to efforts to bring immediate relief to those afflicted and repair the damage done to the fire-stricken areas. The Bodossaki Foundation, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation, chose to support the ‘day after’ of the victims of the wildfires with a programme structured along two key action lines:
(a) covering the basic needs of people who saw loved ones perish in the fires without any warning and homes and possessions totally destroyed, in partnership with Caritas Hellas.
(B) providing psychological support to those afflicted through targeted interventions at individual, family and community levels. These seek to help victims recover from the trauma they have suffered due to their harrowing experiences and gradually return to some sort of normality, in partnership with Doctors of the World / Médecins du Monde – Greece and the Association for Regional Development and Mental Health (EPAPSY).
These two action lines were identified as priorities after the extensive needs assessment carried out by the Bodossaki Foundation team. This involved on-site visits to the affected areas and meetings and consultations with local residents, NGOs and stakeholders who had been active on the ground from the beginning, in order to support efforts to address the crisis.
The programme benefited more than 2,135 citizens – well above the original target of 1,400 – a result made possible by the dedication and determination of all our partners. This total number also includes vulnerable population groups, such as 453 children and 436 elderly citizens.
Financial aid of 1,500 euros was granted to 110 families representing 295 individuals, based on an application process that identified households with the greatest need, while another 40 families received food supplies, cleaning articles and household appliances.
The most crucial component of the programme was the offer of psychological support to those afflicted. In total, 1,679 individuals received counselling in the form of 1,653 individual and family therapy sessions. An additional 954 complementary activities also took place, including house visits, escorting people, and liaising with other bodies to ensure better handling of incidents, while 37 group interventions were also carried out in nursery schools, cultural venues and mental health structures. Additionally, employees of health centres in the wider area afflicted by the fires were offered training in recognizing mental disorders and suicide risk.
The day after
Thanks in part to the support they have received, the afflicted are managing to address their trauma and gradually return to some sort of normality.
The local community and the local bodies involved were given training in detecting cases requiring psychological support and managing similar emergencies in the future. Local bodies are now familiar with the referral procedures for similar incidents, should they be unable to handle these themselves.
The Bodossaki Foundation sought out and secured additional funding to cover the provision of financial aid to 12 more families and of psycho-social support services to a further 200 individuals.
Additionally, The Coca-Cola Foundation, in partnership with the Bodossaki Foundation, continues to support activities to protect and restore both the natural and the man-made environment in the affected areas, in cooperation with the ‘Institute Team for the World Environmental Alliance 2004+’ and other competent bodies.