An incredible British man who has rescued thousands of refugees has been dubbed the “Oskar Schindler of today’s Europe”.
Eric Kempson, 60, lives on the Mediterranean island of Lesbos, Greece and has helped more than 60,000 men, women and children who’ve landed on the beach just miles from his house.
Eric, along with his wife and daughter Philippa and Ellen, have received hundreds of supply packages from generous helpers from all over Europe which he then passes on to the Red Cross on the island.
However, at a public awareness event in Glasgow yesterday, Eric blasted European governments and aid agencies for failing to do enough to help refugees.
Eric, an artist and former safari park manager from Portsmouth, said:
There’s so much more that needs to be done. This has been going on for nine months. This has to stop. We’re getting hardly any help from the aid agencies, hardly any help from the European government. Aid agencies are collecting the donations, and they are getting them. In Denmark the Red Cross had collected 30 million (euros).
But the presence we have on the north of the island is six Greek Red Cross [workers] and I’m supplying them with emergency blankets, bandages, and everything else. If anything, the European government has made it a lot worse because they gave Turkey three billion euros to hold refugees back in their country.
Eric also claimed refugees are actually having their boats sunk by the Turkish coastguard in order to prevent them from crossing the sea.
What’s happening now is they’re using the boats, they’re sinking the boats. One family came in a week ago, they said they’d been sunk three times and it was their fifth attempt to get across. When they got there, they actually said they’d been sunk in the water and that the Turkish Coastguard is actually sinking boats, picking people up, and taking them back to the beach, then they go and find another boat.
Last week, we had a wooden boat that collapsed out at sea and within 60 seconds it went under. There were over 300 people on that boat and that evening we were rescuing people and bringing them in to the harbour – fishermen, coastguard, everyone.
I went down there and at one point there were four groups of doctors working on four separate babies, pumping them, trying to bring them back to life. Out of the four, they brought one back. There were bodies everywhere. It’s senseless, something no one needs to see.
Eric has been roundly praised for his heroic actions, drawing the comparison with Oskar Schindler – the German industrialist credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jewish people during the Holocaust.
However, while Eric and his family have been overwhelmed by the amount of support they’ve received from the public, he refuses to take credit, saying he is just “a human trying to help people out”.
What a legend. If only more people across Europe had the same kind of attitude as Eric!