The largest community of diaspora Greeks whose ancestry hails from the island of Ithaca has organized a fundraiser to help their beloved island– hit hard by Mediterranean Cyclone Ianos a few weeks ago and leaving mass devastation in its path.
Inspired by her love for her grandmother’s birthplace and an island she holds near to her heart, Natasha Anagnostou launched the project which was quickly embraced by the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, a 105-year-old organization of Australians of Ithacan descent and the largest organized community of Ithacans outside of Greece.
“It is our time to give back to the place and the people who have given us so much, because they need it right now more than ever,” Anagnostou wrote in her appeal on the fundraiser’s campaign page.
The damage the cyclone caused is beyond what the local community and government can handle and couldn’t have come at a worst time for people who rely so heavily on tourism to sustain their livelihoods.
There has been widespread destruction of infrastructure, homes, roads, shops, protective seawalls and entire industries like fishing– that sustain entire communities. Such damage will take years to repair as residents struggle day to day to pick up the pieces of their shattered homes and businesses.
“The local community is struggling due to the damage and lack of Government support,” said Nick Anagnostou, who is one of the members of the Ithacan Society and helping to promote the fundraiser.
“The government won’t contribute to anything ‘they didn’t build’ and as the locals have built most walls, stairs, tourist attractions and industry, and have funded a lot of the public infrastructure, it’s now up to them to find the money to rebuild,” Nick said. “Insurance is either unavailable or inaccessible to most people in Ithaca and much of the damage is uninsurable due to its public nature.”
The GoFundMe campaign is half way to its goal is $60,000, with dozens of positive comments coming from people throughout the world who want to support the cause.
The organizers have assured donors of transparency and a fair and equitable distribution of the disaster relief funds and will publish all details on their website, always in consultation with local authorities on the island.
Donate to the campaign here.
Devastating images from Ithaca by North Ithaca.
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