Sir Richard Branson to aid the OIA’s efforts in disaster relief

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has offered his help to the Outdoor Industries Association’s disaster relief efforts following the earthquake in Morocco.

Andrew Denton, OIA CEO, said: “The OIA are working with the Moroccan Government to bring aid to the worst affected areas – in that context I have connected with Sir Richard Branson who has said he will help in the distribution of goods from the outdoor trade industry.”

Sir Richard Branson’s mother, Eve Branson, has had a long connection with the region of Morocco worst affected by the earthquake. Sir Richard and his wife Vanessa have spent the last fortnight on the ground with friends and colleagues in those villages in the Atlas that they know well through his mother’s foundation.

Sir Richard said: “The deepest tragedy of the earthquake is that it struck some of the most remote and poorest areas of the Atlas Mountains. Many villages have been completely destroyed, with not one building left standing.  Whole communities are now living in the open air, sleeping on mattresses and clothed in the few garments they have managed to salvage from the ruins of their houses. Whilst the spirit of the survivors is remarkable and the country has shown an extraordinary solidarity and resilience, the coming weeks and months will be increasingly tough. The people we have been working with desperately need shelter and warm clothing.  Winter comes early in the High Atlas and the first rains are already forecast, with snow coming hard on their heels.

“I understand that the OIA also called on its members to support relief efforts in Ukraine and Syria and recognise the risk of donor fatigue and that is why we are so grateful to you and the whole UK outdoor industry for your swift action in asking your members to once again contribute whatever they can to a relief effort.  

“What is needed most are tents, sleeping bags, warm and waterproof jackets.  But also socks, gloves and hats.  Powerbanks to recharge mobile phones (there are no landlines left) and penknives.  It does not matter whether the equipment is 2023’s version.  Older models, taking up space in your members’ storage areas, warehouses or outlets would be just as welcome. Whatever can be spared, will save lives over the winter.

“I understand that Vanessa has offered her barn in Sussex as a collection point for your members’ donations.  She and I will continue our efforts to help villagers in the Atlas and we very much look forward to working with you to ensure that your members’ generous donations get quickly to those that need them most.”

Please send any equipment you can spare clearly labelled with what is inside and well packed to:

 ‘OIA Morocco Aid Project’
Lippering Farm
West Sussex
PO20 7BY

If you have any questions please contact [email protected] 

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