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Taking stock: IHA’s warehouse in Northern Greece

In April this year, IHA took over operations of a 1,000m² warehouse close to Thessaloniki. This was made possible by the support of our long-term partners Help Refugees. The warehouse serves as a humanitarian logistics hub, benefitting thousands of refugees in Northern Greece. It sources, stocks and distributes three categories of essential relief supplies: fresh produce, dry food and non-food items.

 

Fresh produce

Fresh fruit and vegetables are bought at the local market, packed at the warehouse and distributed to camps and projects in the region. We’re constantly adapting to an ever-changing situation, prioritising people who receive little to no institutional support. At the moment, the food reaches refugees in various housing projects and communal kitchens in and around Thessaloniki, as well as the residents of Lagadikia camp. In eight months, we have distributed over 62 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Dry food

Staples like rice, flour, pasta, beans, sugar and oil are sourced from local suppliers and distributed to social projects and partner organisations in the camps. Each month, we deliver around 2,500kg of a variety of dry food items. Additionally, we were able to attract a donation of 20 tons of tomato sauce in October. This has been a welcome extra for communal kitchens, housing projects and camp residents. It has even reached people in need as far away as Athens!

Non-food items: Clothes, shoes, hygiene products, tents and blankets

When we took over in April, the warehouse was full of goods but in disarray. We’ve spent thousands of working hours organising, sorting and quality-checking around 200 pallets to ensure that what we deliver is what people actually need. Last month, we combed through and packed the last boxes of unsorted clothes!

The warehouse is now efficiently organised and is delivering large quantities of supplies to people in need all over Northern Greece. In five months, we’ve given out over 67,000 pieces of clothing alone.

The focus has now shifted to much-needed winter items. In December, we’re receiving 30 pallets of winter clothes, blankets, sleeping bags and hygiene items ready to be distributed.

Emergency response and logistical background work

The warehouse remains crucial in enabling us to quickly respond to emergency situations. We’ve set up a designated emergency area that has proven essential during Rapid Refugee Response operations. In particular from April to June, when we were welcoming newly arriving refugees at the main bus station in Thessaloniki in the middle of the night. They were transferred directly from the border region with Turkey where they crossed the Evros river. We were present to respond to the most urgent needs, providing blankets, water and food as well as information.

We continue to maintain an emergency corner in the warehouse, stocked with pre-packed clothes kits, water, blankets, sleeping bags and hygiene kits. With winter approaching, we are standing by to help if and when necessary.

The work in the warehouse sometimes is monotonous and tedious and it is starting to get really cold during working hours. However, we all understand the importance of this logistical background work. We are encouraged by the responses we get from our partners every time we deliver supplies to them and, most of all, by seeing the immediate impact it has on the people for whom we are here to help.

What you can do to contribute

Volunteer: We’re looking for dedicated long-term volunteers to join our team in Greece. Learn more.

Donate: Monetary donations are the most efficient way of helping. They enable us to respond quickly and flexibly, to source supplies locally and to keep essential infrastructure like our cars running.

Network: Our work is enabled by a network of partners in Greece and abroad. You can contribute by growing our network: companies, donors or organisations that send relief supplies. Get in touch: info@iha.help