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Hartland lifeguard speaks out after helping refugees in the Aegean Sea 

Posted by | January 10, 2017 | Lifeguards, Open Water Lifeguards

Hartland lifeguard speaks out after helping refugees in the Aegean SeaBy NDJJoe  |  Posted: January 10, 2017   0 COMMENTS  0 SHARESRichie takes on board a young refugee. Comments (0)A NORTH Devon lifeguard who recently returned home after spending months rescuing refugees in the Aegean Sea believes the refugee crisis will become “one of the biggest problems of our generation”.Richie Heard, from Hartland, is crew co-ordinator for Refugee Rescue, a small charity based on the Greek Island of Lesbos.He and his fellow volunteers have been involved in more than 3,200 rescues since the refugee crisis began.Refugee RescueRichie (centre right) with his fellow Refugee Rescue volunteers  by Taboola Sponsored Links YOU MAY LIKEWhy This Razor Is Causing So Many Guys To SwitchHarry’sThe Most Unusual Hotels in the World (Photos)Cultured NationTips for Tasty, Simple Grilled BurgersUmamiDuring his time at sea Richie has seen some shocking scenes and helped families with little or no hope of surviving the passage to Europe.Richie sees a big difference between his work with Refugee Rescue and the RNLI.”The most memorable moments involve carrying babies back to the boat, in the UK the casualties I usually dealt with put themselves in that position but a little baby has no choice,” said Richie.”Every single boat we encountered out there has families on board, babies, toddlers and children.”Richie completed three trips to Lesbos, last year and is already planning his next trip.Refugee Rescue is based in the village of Skala Sikamineas on Lesbos.The experience has, for the most part, been positive for Richie.”The village is home to a number of agencies dedicated to helping the refugees, the atmosphere there is so warm it’s a little overwhelming,” said Richie.Shop Now @ EXPRESS $29.95Distressed Long Sleeve Side Zip SweaterPromoted by “I’ve made lifelong friends while working out there.”The biggest realisation I had while there was, there are so many kind people out there who are willing to take a risk and help out.”One remarkable character Richie encountered on Lesbos was Omar from Syria.Omar himself started off as refugee and found himself on Lesbos, like many others.Instead of continuing on to Europe to find a place to settle he turned around and decided to help refugees like himself find safety.One of most difficult parts of Richie’s work is dealing with the “audacity” of people smugglers who often throw refugees overboard in rocky coves rather than land at beaches, which are often more heavily patrolled.He said: “I was often amazed the people smugglers had the audacity to drop families off in dangerous coves and on rocky outcrops.”Without us many of those families would have been in serious trouble, it’s very frustrating.”Richie has a message for people here in the UK: “There is still a very real need for charities to help, there’s still a constant trickle of refugees.”The problem has not stopped. The way the national media covers it is misleading, in my opinion this mass displacement of people will be one of the biggest problems of our generation.”

Source: Hartland lifeguard speaks out after helping refugees in the Aegean Sea | North Devon Journal

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