Refugee Crisis Appeal: Europe
The death toll of people trying to cross the Mediterranean in the first 7 months of 2016 has tragically passed 3,000. It is estimated that on average 10 people have lost their lives in this way every day since the start of 2014. Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, observed: ‘This is the equivalent of a 747 Airliner plunging into the Mediterranean Sea every month this year. If that were happening, there would be global grief and action, yet this milestone is passed silently, and with little reaction from EU governments. Adding to the tragedy, many of those who die are unidentified and must be buried in unmarked graves.
In the same 7 month period almost 250,000 refugees have arrived in Europe, most in unseaworthy vessels, all Many of the Anglican churches in Europe are responding in culturally specific ways: Florence churches are providing art classes alongside their provision of food banks and Paris churches are organising cookery classes with children as part of their provision of trauma counselling, however all of those surveyed have emphasised collaboration. Bishops’ Appeal, having liaised with the Anglican Alliance for guidance, released funds to United Society for their ecumenical work in Greece on behalf of the Diocese of Europe:
- On the Island of Lesbos, they are supporting an initiative based at the Pharos Lighthouse to help refugees who arrive by boat from Turkey. They are wet, tired, cold and hungry, and many are distraught or need medical attention.
- On the Island of Samos, they are working with the Greek non-profit organisation MedIn (Medical Intervention) and reaching out to refugees who arrive with immediate needs for shelter, food and healthcare. MedIn also provides psychosocial support.
- They are supporting Apostoli, the humanitarian arm of the Orthodox Church of Greece. In Athens, they are helping to provide shelter and winter clothes, prioritizing children, the elderly and those with poor health. And on the islands of Chios, Samos, Kos and Lerros, they are providing tents, sleeping bags, food parcels and hygiene kits.
- In Athens, the church is working with the Salvation Army to provide food, water and medicine to refugees who congregate in local parks.