Couple's mercy mission

A LANCING couple are appealing for relief supplies to help people living in the Maldives whose lives have been destroyed by the tsunami disaster.

The phone has not stopped ringing for Martin and Nina Griffiths, of Sompting Road, after they decided to organise a collection of children's clothes, first aid supplies and other vital items.

The couple spent their honeymoon in 1992 on the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, and said they decided to organise an appeal after seeing a television report on Friday.

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Mrs Griffiths said: "We were watching the news and there was something about the Friends of the Maldives, and I thought we have to do something."

She contacted the Friends of the Maldives, which is based in Salisbury, and offered to organise some supplies. Mrs Griffiths then started calling friends and business contacts for help.

She has been offered free flights, which can take out the supplies direct to the Maldives, from Gatwick.

She said she urgently needs first aid supplies, toiletries, toothpaste, feeding bottles and bandages, among other items.

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Mrs Griffiths also needs to find a warehouse to store these items before they are shipped, lorry drivers and lorries.

They also need cardboard boxes and tape.

"The number one priority is we have to collect first aid items," she said.

"We've got 28,000 rubber gloves, but we need things like disinfectant."

Mr Griffiths added: "We're not only sending out aid, but all of the volunteers who are out there working need strong gloves and wellington boots.

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"What we are finding is that the need is changing constantly."

Lancing Social Club in Tower Road has given Mrs Griffiths storage space and the club will be open from noon to 3pm, and 6pm to 11pm, from Sunday onwards, for people to drop off supplies.

The islands of the Maldives have become the forgotten victims of the tsunami disaster.

The official death toll has now risen to 82, with 26 people still listed as missing. The government estimates that 14,000 people have lost their homes and as many as 100,000 people are receiving emergency aid.

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l Lancing and Sompting Lions Club is giving 1,200 to the British Red Cross tsunami appeal.

Yvonne Prosser, from the Lancing and Sompting club, said members will also be at Red Cross collections this weekend at Tesco stores in the area.

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