Hope on board: relief convoy for refugees
With the “Convoy of Hope”, Mercedes-Benz and its partners have once again brought relief items and a Sprinter ambulance to the border between Turkey and Syria. Help well received.
“No end to the emergency in sight”
Nine Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor-trailers, two Vito and one Unimog – an impressive convoy which set out towards southern Turkey on a sunny February morning. Around 250 tonnes of relief items with a value of approximately 1.25 million euros travelled from the Mercedes-Benz central shipping warehouse at Neckar Port in Stuttgart to the refugee camp on the border between Turkey and Syria, roughly 4000 km away. It was the fourth relief convoy for Syrian refugees organized by Daimler Trucks and the Frankfurt humanitarian organization “Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen e.V.” (LOG) since 2013. Daimler employees donated 72,470 euros for the fourth relief convoy, and the company doubled the refugee aid to 144,940 euros. “The number of people in Turkish refugee camps has increased to 2.5 million and there is no end to the emergency in sight. We help where we can best help them: directly on-site”, says Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member for Daimler AG Trucks & Buses. The “Convoy of Hope” and provides collected relief items for roughly 10,000 Syrian refugees to the Turkish camp. The cargo consists of items such as blankets, winter clothing, diapers and mattresses.
Proven helpers – even in emergency regions
One of the Actros trucks delivers especially valuable relief to the border between Turkey and Syria: Two ambulance vehicles, including a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 318 CDI ambulance. A total of nine ambulances have been donated since the beginning of the humanitarian convoys. They are not only destined for the Turkish refugee camps, but also cross the border to help bring the sick, the weak and those injured in the war to hospitals. Every ambulance is called out twice per day on average. This means that every year this ambulance fleet saves thousands of lives. The convoy is accompanied by three team vehicles – two Mercedes-Benz Vito and one Unimog. The U 4000 double cab functions as a service and recovery vehicle. Over the course of the decades, the legendary Unimog trucks have proven their worth in emergency regions on every continent throughout the world.
“Convoy of Hope” – 4,000 kilometers to the destination
The route ran from Germany through Austria through Central Eastern Europe, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to the Turkish border. The Unimog underwent a technical inspection just before Istanbul. The Unimog was popular with the team and among the Turkish technicians. Its Turkish name is “Our favourite”. Then the journey continued through the massive city of Istanbul, onward to the Asian side. The route also took the convoy past the Mercedes-Benz truck plant in Aksaray. The convoy stopped here and the helpers spent the night in a hotel, where a member of the team sat down at the piano and played a spontaneous rendition of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. A turning point on the journey which reminded the entire team of why they were there: to help people in need. After a journey of roughly 4,000 km they were eagerly awaited at the refugee camps in southern Turkey on the Syrian border.
Times of lightheartedness
In addition to Daimler Trucks and LOG, the partners of the fourth Syrian humanitarian convoy also included the SOS Children’s Village worldwide for the first time. One of the nine Mercedes-Benz trucks transported the donations collected by the 60-year-old organization to SOS Children’s Villages in Serbia and Macedonia. These donations consisted of toys for the refugee children, including craft materials, colored pens, coloring books and small backpacks along with vitally important blankets for the cold season. According to Wilfried Vyslozil, Chairman of the SOS Children’s Villages worldwide, playing and painting in a safe environment provide traumatized refugee children with times respite and fun. This gives the children chance to find their emotional balance.