Expat Community in Split Lends a Helping Hand to the Brave Battling the Blaze

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

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Mirela Rus

The Split expat community comes together to help those battling the blaze. 

They say that crisis brings out the best in us and that disaster brings out our kindness. Such is the story of the expat community in Split, already known for being one of the most cooperative expat groups to exist (no really, it’s a fact).

While I’m fairly certain that no one would think to question the group’s kindness and willingness to help others, Split expats have set another stellar example, focusing their efforts on helping those battling the fiery blaze that has plagued Dalmatia in the last 24 hours. 

It all began yesterday when a fire broke out just before 1 am in Tugare, a village near Omiš. With unfavorable bura winds, the fire quickly escalated, devastating homes, at least 4,500 hectares, and the livelihoods of many. Finding ways to organize help throughout the chaos yesterday proved to be a bit more difficult than expected, and many brave citizens of Split threw themselves on the front line armed with water, determination, love, and support. 

This morning, after waking up to the comforting news that the fire was no longer a danger to Split, the expat community put their heads together to compose a game plan for the firefighters and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to ensure our safety. 

Members of the group asked questions about how they could help, while others who are more connected in Split made phone calls to the Red Cross at Spaladium Arena or to those already volunteering on the front line (Ives Cikatic, thank you for always being the connector). 

Once it was decided that the group could help with sandwiches, water, coffee, breakfast bars, and snacks, Karin TB Culic quickly made a Facebook event and urged everyone to join. Monique Laffite, the owner of To Je Tako, managed to round up an assortment of sandwich ingredients and opened the kitchen of her restaurant (we also found out that today is Monique’s birthday and she has chosen to spend it helping others – Happy Birthday, Mo!). Mirela Rus, the owner of Break Time Nautical Bracelets, then executed the game plan which was quickly picked up and shared across social media.

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Within minutes, the Split expat community jumped in willing and eager to help.

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And then there were breakfast bars…

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And coffee…

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And milk, more breakfast bars, and water.

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The group made around 200 sandwiches in the kitchen of To Je Tako!

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And the car was beginning to fill up…

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EK Mannik brought hot sandwiches and water.

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Gillian Miller and Patrick Lickteig brought coffee cups and other goods. 

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Čevapi and water were delivered by Maria Brooks and Marilyn.

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Roxana Jamett Soto brought more water.

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Robyn Knezovich came from Kaštela to deliver water, energy bars, and other goods.

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The car was then loaded and Mirela, her husband Ionut Copoiu, and Karin TB Culic made their way to Žrnovica.

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 After everything was delivered, Mirela updated the group on the next course of events.

“We have delivered everything to the fire station in Žrnovica (the images of fire devastation are heartbreaking). The čevapi and coffee were unloaded right away in a vatrogasci car that was going to the firefighters up the hill. Water is collected in the fire station and the sandwiches were put in a room ready to be delivered in the next transport. Many people helped out so the situation with food and drinks is good for today. The guy from Red Cross who was coordinating everything told us that they are OK for now and have enough food and water, and that people evacuated are staying with families so there was not a need to use the shelter at Poljud and there is no need for food or clothes or anything else. Everyone was thanking us for what we brought. And those thanks are for all of you who contributed to this! I would tag each and everyone but I am really afraid of not missing a name.”

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The help did not stop here, and To Je Tako opened a “donation point” in front of their restaurant in the heart of the Old Town.

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To Je Tako’s Facebook post reads:

“If anyone wants to donate clothes or non-perishable items to the victims of the recent forest fires, please stop by To Je Tako. We are also taking cash donations and buying items they are low on. We have been told that people are okay with food for now because they are staying with families, but let’s not put the whole burden on the families that have opened their homes. Let’s help them by sending them extra food & supplies.”

An incredible effort put forth by an unbelievable group of people, it is clear that the efforts won’t stop here.

A massive thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone that gave a piece of their heart today to help those in need. Your efforts will not go unnoticed. 


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