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How we’re helping refugees in Europe

By Mark Lang | 07 Jan 2016

More than 41,000 refugees arriving in Europe, mostly from Syria, have been helped thanks to the generosity of Tearfund supporters.

More than 41,000 refugees arriving in Europe, mostly from Syria, have been helped thanks to the generosity of Tearfund supporters.

Through five partners in Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Greece, we’re providing basic essentials for people who in many cases have fled with just the clothes they stand in.

Here Peter Arthern, who administers our response to the refugee crisis in Europe, reports on our work on three Greek islands, which have witnessed more than 250,000 arrivals in 2015 alone.

‘These lifejackets were abandoned by refugees arriving on the island of Chios. The day before I visited this beach, there were 1,300 new arrivals. The day before that 1,400 people arrived. And it’s been like that for months on Chios. Refugees and migrants arrive all along the coastline of the Greek islands of Chios, Samos and Kos. There is a huge illegal business smuggling people across the short sea journey from Turkey to Greece in basic inflatable boats. Smugglers were charging US$1,500 per person to make this journey when we were there, sharing a boat with about 20 others. During the summer, they were charging US$2,500 per person.

‘After the elation of making it safely to land after journeys at sea, many refugees soon succumb to exhaustion. They’ve been on such an emotional rollercoaster, not to mention the physical discomfort of their lengthy and uncertain travels. I came across this family who were waiting outside a reception centre. The children were so weary they’d simply crashed out as soon as they had sat down on the grass.

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Written by Mark Lang

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