1,000-plus people arrive every week from north Africa and Middle East.
The Salvation Army is providing a compassionate ministry to some of the thousands of refugees who have fled to Greece from north Africa and the Middle East. Up to 1,500 people arrive every week at the Port of Pireas, Athens, with many setting up unofficial camps in the center of Athens.
Major Polis Pantelidis, from the Athens Corps, has been supplying food parcels to people living outdoors in the parks, although this has proved difficult since the need is so great and he cannot take enough food for everyone.
Plans are in place to put together food parcels for people arriving at Pireas, and to help them cope with the time-consuming system of processing and registration. The provision of food and drink also presents opportunities for conversations and, Salvation Army team members hope, will take away some of the fear for people who have fled atrocities and now find themselves in a strange country with little or no support.
At Athens Corps, children’s activities are underway, attended mainly by young people who have recently come to Greece by boat. In a safe environment, they have an opportunity to express their feelings and talk about their experiences through games and drawing. A group of about 15 volunteers runs the activities, and they are developing links with other groups should more help be needed.
The Salvation Army will continue to do all it can to help the increasing number of refugees, though funding is proving difficult—especially as so many people in Greece already face hardship because of the economic crisis.
Donations to The Salvation Army’s refugee response in Greece can be made online through the IHQ secure server.