Costas rally to meet the demand for protective kits

A volunteer in Cártama delivers visors  to a civil protection officer.
A volunteer in Cártama delivers visors to a civil protection officer. / SUR
  • Volunteers across Malaga province and the Costa Tropical have started to make masks and protective equipment in their own homes

As existing supplies of masks and protective equipment rapidly diminish in Spain, groups of volunteers across Malaga province and the Costa Tropical have started to make them in their own homes.

Town halls, businesses and individuals are rallying together to provide materials, machinery, premises and time as the race to keep up with the demand of masks and protective clothing continues.

In Periana, British resident Chloe Gavin is coordinating a group of women, including a handful of foreign residents, to make 400 protective gowns which will be donated to the Axarquía hospital in Torre del Mar as well as homes for the elderly throughout the Axarquía.

"I saw a post on Facebook about people making masks, so I asked the town hall for supplies and contacted the local women's association and some of the foreign people who live here," Chloe explains. "We have had a request for 400 gowns, but I expect we will make more," she added.

Almuñécar town hall is coordinating a group of approximately 60 volunteers who are also making masks and gowns which are destined for domestic help workers and the local police force. They aim to produce 1,000 masks and 100 gowns and in Vélez-Málaga some of the Holy Week brotherhoods (cofradías) are also producing the equipment.

A coordinated effort

The Real Cofradía de la Pollinica and the Virgen del Rocío as well as a flamenco dressmaker are all working to produce 30,000 masks and 500 gowns, which will go to the Axarquía hospital, local police, Amivel - a local charity for people with disabilities - as well as for companies and residents.

Along the coast a number of organisations in Benajarafe, Valle-Niza and Chilches have also got together to produce the equipment and have one point of contact in each village "to reduce contact and spreading the virus" explained spokesperson Sergio Yules. He added that they have also started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to buy more material.

It is a similar story in Coín, Manilva and Cártama. In Coín a group of more than 30 cancer survivors are making gowns and masks. One of the volunteers, María Dolores Bravo, explained that the masks "are only for professionals and to be put over the authorised ones." She went on to say that the homemade masks "can be sterilised and then reused which allows the authorised masks to be used for longer."

In Manilva local businessman Jesús Belmonte has provided his interior decor premises as well as machinery for the kits to be made. School cleaning staff employed by the town hall are making them so that their contracts don't need to be broken according to a town hall spokesperson.

Volunteers with Malaga's doctor's union, Sindicato Médico de Málaga (SMM), are working to produce 300 visors made from acetate. Javier Sanz is coordinating around 30 volunteers who are using their own 3D printers to make the visors, which are being delivered to hospitals in the region.

Cártama resident Ernesto Soler is one of 20 people with access to 3D printers in the town who is making protective visors for local civil protection employees. The volunteers are working from home, with the town hall providing material and logistics.

Soler said he has reduced the time it takes to make a visor from two and half hours to one and points out that everyone involved is wearing masks and gloves. "We won't stop until the virus is dead," he told SUR earlier this week.