How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

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Kayleigh Dray

On 17 August, a van ploughed into tourists on Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas district, killing 14 and wounding about 100. At least 15 of those injured are said to be in a serious condition.

Police confirm they have made three arrests over the attack on Las Ramblas, but none of these are believed to be the driver who fled the scene.

Nine hours after the initial attack, five suspected terrorists were shot dead by police in Cambrils, Barcelona, after they drove a car into pedestrians and injured seven people.

Josep Lluis Trapero, the head of the regional police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, said in a news conference that the rampage was designed “to kill as many people as possible”.

And Islamic State have since claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly boasting on a website that: “Terror is filling the crusaders’ hearts in the Land of Andalusia.” 

Working through the flood of information and emotional appeals for missing persons in the immediate aftermath, and the heartbreaking stories that follow later, the urge to help in some way is a natural impulse, but it can be confusing to know what will actually make a difference.

Below, we’ve listed the ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation.

Anyone with concerns for the safety of loved ones in Barcelona are being asked to contact the Consular Assistance team on 01-4082000.

Donate blood

With dozens of people receiving treatment for serious injuries, donating blood is a practical way to provide help and support – as well as a gesture of love and solidarity.

As The Independent reported, hospitals in Barcelona have already called for blood donations following the attack “to avoid potential shortages”.

If you are near the city, stop by one of the 16 fixed centres located in major hospitals of the Catalan healthcare regions to make a donation now.

Donate to local mental health charities

As reminds us, mental health charities are likely to be strained over the coming days and weeks as the people of Barcelona come to terms with what’s happened. There is an entire network of centros de salud mental (mental health centres) in Barcelona, as well as centres such as NEST, a network of English-speaking therapists. The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona also has a Mental Health Research Network (CORE Mental Health).

Donate money

Online scams inevitably do pop up at times like this, so check and double-check before giving money to charity pages and crowdfunding websites, as scammers can quickly take advantage of these situations to prey on people’s generosity.

Stick to official, verifiable avenues, such as Red Cross Española, who were on the scene helping victims immediately after the attack.

Don’t share unconfirmed images or names of victims, and avoid posting graphic photos or videos of the event

When attacks like this happen, the shock and horror combined with the sheer volume of information on social media can make it difficult to separate fact from genuine or malicious rumour.

Shared widely, misinformation can spread fear and confusion, and even compromise ongoing investigations. 

Anyone with concerns for the safety of loved ones in Barcelona are being asked to contact the Consular Assistance team on 01-4082000.

Image: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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