As many are no doubt aware, Lesvos was hit by a significant earthquake in June.

The response from the Lesvian community in Australia was instant with a sub committee formed to help raise funds through a number of events in June and July, as well as a fundraising drive with local business and other Greek communities such as the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, generously donating $1000, and the Athenian Association, amongst others.

On Wednesday 16 August, the president of the national body, Pan Lesvian Association of Australia and New Zealand, John Spanellis from Greek Radio 1683, and Peter Psomas the president of the Mytilenean Brotherhood of NSW helped distribute raised funds to the 40 most needy families in the devastated village of Vrisa.

Mr Psomas told Neos Kosmos that “bank drafts to the 40 families affected by the earthquake were distributed. Each family received €400 and an amount will go towards a food bank, coupons will be given for meat, and cooked food to assist the families that are facing difficult times ahead.”

Close to $30,000 was raised in Australia by the community.

Mr Spanellis wanted to pay tribute to “everyone who donated towards this worthy cause. For us, being here and witnessing the damage is beyond belief, the people here have suffered.”

They were joined by the Pan Lesvian Association’s Milton Kodos who is from the village originally, and Myrsini Bougoukas, who spent time liaising with Sydney businesses to donate to the cause.

The delegation, all of whom are on their annual trip to the island, was joined by the mayor of Vrisa, Stratis Parakilas, as they met affected people and villagers who are intent on rebuilding their lives.

For those who would like to help the island as they move forward from the earthquake, please visit one the biggest and most captivating places in Europe. The locals, as evidenced in Vrisa, are always grateful to see visitors.

*Billy Cotsis is the director of ‘Lesvos: Fall in Love’ and was on the island last week.

John Spanellis in front of a collapsed street.

Peter Psomas with one of the villagers.