REFUGEE rescue fever has hit the Abergavenny area with townsfolk being invited to do their bit to help ease the humanitarian crisis across Europe.
In Crickhowell a couple have been staggered by the quick and positive response to their impromptu appeal for aid after being moved to action by the string of poignant news stories thrown up by the tragic exodus from Syria and Afghanistan.
Jessica Bumfrey and fiance Andrew Smith thought they might get ‘a few toothbrushes’ - but bags of gear later they realised they’d under-estimated the surge of generosity which hit the town.
The turning point which inspired them was the tragic story of the infant found dead on a Turkish beach.
“It went from this off-the-cuff idea of doing something to help to putting up posters in local shops. They all helped out. It’s been amazing,” enthused Jessica, 37, who lives in High Street.
“We’ve had boxes of nappies, toiletries and lots of other things. Everyone has been so kind. We only started doing this on Sunday. The response was so immediate. We’ve been blown away by it all,” she added.
She and Andrew, 35, have been taking the aid - in all shapes and sizes - to a collection point in Hereford.
Crickhowell’s Premier Smith’s convenience store, run by Andrew’s parents, has been the focal point for accepting local donations.
In Abergavenny the hunt is on for suitable premises to function for the same purpose.
Former town councillor Michael Prys-Williams and his fellow helpers were hoping to find the right base to accommodate local aid.
On Monday the hunt was still on the locate the ideal property.
Anyone able to help can contact him on 01873 850861.
* Later this month Monmouthshire County Council will meet to discuss its plan of action in offering humanitarian aid.
Council leader Peter Fox said, “I believe elected members will want the council to take positive action in the light of the worsening refugee crisis.
“We will be tabling a motion which I feel sure will find support from all political groupings on the council. As the situation unfolds the eventual motion put before the council might need to be amended, but as we see it at the moment it is this:
“ ‘Given the horrific refugee crisis resulting from the wars in Syria and elsewhere this council will make contact with Her Majesty’s Government and offer to provide humanitarian aid for a limited number of refugees.
“ ‘In such a fast moving situation it is difficult to assess the most beneficial forms of support. Consequently we ask our Strong Communities committee to liaise with others to best target the council’s response. We will seek financial support from Her Majesty’s Government and the Welsh Government and assurances from the Welsh Government that medical aid will be offered by the Welsh Health Service.
“ ‘We recognise there is a danger that accepting refugees, gathering throughout Europe, is likely to encourage others to make the hazardous journey into the EU. To discourage this we therefore urge the British Government to establish registration units in refugee camps set up in Turkey and other non EU countries to process refugees into the UK.’ ”