5th September 2015
Hundreds of thousands of refugees desperate to start new lives in the West have rapidly streamed through Europe this year, overwhelming certain nations along their path. It is the largest crisis of its kind in the region since the Second World War.
Many of these men, women, and children are in a mad scramble to transit through the Balkans and Hungary in search of better opportunities—sometimes exiting countries in less than 24 hours.
Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a multinational team of personnel to Hungary, Serbia, and other affected countries to meet the immediate needs of displaced people. We are supporting trusted, local Christian partners with the aim of facilitating as many intersections between them and refugees as possible—offering a variety of physical relief and the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A typical route takes refugees—many from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan—by land or sea to Turkey and/or Greece, then through the Balkans and Hungary, and then onto Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom or other northern European nations.
The German government has in recent days said it will take in up to 800,000 Syrian refugees this year. The United Kingdom has said that it will take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years directly from refugee camps on the borders with Syria. Well over 4 million refugees have fled Syria since the start of a civil war that is now more than four years old.
Well over 4 million refugees have fled Syria since the start of a now four-year-old civil war.
Gevegelija in Macedonia is just across the border from Greece. The refugee-processing centre is on one side of the bridge, and the town is on the other. In a recent 14-hour period, approximately 4,500 refugees crossed the border. Due to the situation on Lesbos in Greece, Samaritan’s Purse predicts that approximately 20,000 refugees will attempt to cross the border in the next few days.
Current conditions on the Greece-Macedonia border are cold and rainy. Infants are wrapped in plastic bags to protect them from the rain. Clothing is inadequate even for current temperatures, much less dropping temperatures that will follow in the next few weeks. Soon it will not be possible for people to sleep outdoors as they will be at significant risk of hypothermia, particularly infants, young children, and the elderly.
Please pray for the safety of those moving through Europe now, and ask God to bless our work as we seek to provide physical relief and share the love of Christ with them. Please pray for wisdom for Samaritan’s Purse staff around the world as our response continues to develop. Finally, pray for our personnel on the ground and those who will be joining them shortly.
—Article Last Updated: September 11
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