Refugee Rescue is a grassroots NGO operating a skilled Search and Rescue (SAR) team on the North Shore of Lesvos, Greece. Our boat crew and rescue vessel ‘Mo Chara’ are on call 24 hours per day, ready to assist those in distress at sea. Onshore, our land teams man spotting operations that keep watch along the treacherous coastline, and work alongside partners to provide emergency relief for those have just arrived.
Refugee Rescue was founded in response to inadequate SAR infrastructure in 2015 when thousands of people were arriving to the island by boat, having been displaced by war, conflict and persecution.
Refugee Rescue remains as the only humanitarian and professional search and rescue organisation in the region
Dinghies often directly navigate towards dangerous rocks or shallows that can easily break the floor of these flimsy rubber boats, causing them to sink or capsize. Smugglers abandon groups of refugees on rocks and inaccessible beaches. Many boats also land on treacherous rocks and people are then stranded in locations that are difficult to reach. There is no cliff rescue here, no helicopter to come and help them, and people are often impossible to reach from land.
Hundreds have already lost their lives and people are still crossing the perilous stretch of water between Turkey and Lesvos every day. As long as people are denied safe passage to Europe, they will continue risking their lives unnecessarily, forced to take what is now one of the world’s most dangerous migratory routes in search of refuge.
By offering a consistent and skilled emergency response along this treacherous coastline, we seek to make this journey a little less deadly, with the hope of stopping any more lives being needlessly lost to The Aegean.