Press Release ERCI
Athens, 29 August 2018
With great concern we witness and observe the ongoing investigation regarding members of ERCI. We categorically deny the accusations while we are alarmed by seeing reports mentioning that the total amount of 30 individuals who are involved in the case belong to our organisation something that can’t be verified by the official case file. Οn the contrary, within the group of the 30 individuals, there are people of other NGOs or independent volunteers involved in the ongoing investigation.
Αs soon as they were called, the staff and volunteers of ERCI came before the authorities in Lesvos voluntarily and in accordance to the requests, to provide explanations and be questioned about the current investigation.
Many ill-informed articles and media reports are contradicted by the financial data that our organization has made available to the Greek authorities. It is important to highlight that this financial data has been verified by an internationally respected and accredited auditing firm. Additionally, the investigation of the Greek authorities is still ongoing, and we are certain that many of the unfounded claims, accusations and charges will be quashed, allowing the truth to prevail and the justice to be served.
Finally, we express our total respect and trust in the integrity and the impartiality of the Greek judicial authorities and its members. Οur organization will continue to operate with full transparency and within the legal framework of this country as we have done so in the past 3 years during closely with the Authorities we have managed to build an impeccable track record of helping people in need.
Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) is a Greek not-for profit organization with the main goal of offering humanitarian assistance in humanitarian crisis and natural disasters. ERCI has been an active organization in Mytilene with uninterrupted presence since 2015. In the area of the refugee crisis ERCI has been active in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, Primary Medical Care in the Moria Camp as well as educational activities for children in the Kara Tepe Camp.
Through its Search h & Rescue (SAR) programme, ERCI has significantly contributed by assisting the coast guard and the European Border Agency (FRONTEX) in order help the thousands of refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean using unsafe methods and dangerous methods. ERCI has also participated in joint operations with the Hellenic Coast Guard as well as other EU actors such as FRONTEX whenever it has been requested to. ERCI is also a member of the International Maritime Rescue Federation and has also received numerous awards and recognition including an award from the Propeller Club of Piraeus and a recognition token from the Protector (British FRONTEX). During our operations on Lesvos a shoreline team has been on duty on the South Shoreline of the island.
In “Moria”, the infamous reception and registration centre for Refugees and Migrants in Lesvos, ERCI operates a day clinic offering primary care to hundreds of patients per week that reside in the camp.
In “Kara Tepe” camp, ERCI runs daily kids activities as well as a “Hygiene Programme” (WASH) offering the residents the chance to wash their clothes in washing machines in order to retain the highest possible level of hygiene.
During the last 12 months alone, ERCI has donated over 89.000 items to people in need (including refugees and non-refugees in Lesvos) such as clothing and personal hygiene products.
Besides contributing in responding to the refugee crisis, ERCI also has responded to other emergency situations in Greece: During the most recent fires in the Attica area, ERCI transferred its two rescue boats from Lesvos to Athens in order to contribute to the recovery operations under the umbrella of the Hellenic Coast Guard and other volunteers and organisations. In the past ERCI has also responded to an earthquake on the island of Lesvos in 2017 as well as in the recovery operation of a body of a 21 year old fisherman on Lesvos upon the request of the coastguard.
All of the operations and programmes of ERCI have only been made possible solely with private donations which are fully declared according to the legal requirements to the national financial authorities and audited yearly by internationally recognised independent auditors.
Basic principle of the organization is to provide support and assistance to national and local authorities in humanitarian crises. ERCI has also been founded and operates with full transparency with the sole purpose of providing humanitarian assistance and has never operated in a way that could create any doubts or shadows about its work.