This summer, we followed with increasing concern what I believe is going to go down in modern history as the biggest humanitarian crisis and consequently migration within Europe.
The Syrian crisis is unprecedented in modern history on account of a number of factors. The sheer number of people who have been displaced by ISIS. The enormity of cultural and humanitarian destruction caused by an extremist group, in a proximity to “civilised” Europe that is just too close for comfort. The extreme violence used by a relatively small extremist group that has caused a whole nation to shift and the complete silence, on the other hand, and lack of political, economical and military measures from the European and worldwide “powers” in response to this crisis.
Yes, “The Iron Frau” has opened the German borders from last night and has become overnight “mama Merkel” but the severity of the issue at grass-root level remains.
There are still thousands of families travelling for weeks on foot, crossing precariously the sea in flimsy dinghies, only to arrive on Greek islands where there is basically no local government provision for them due to the deep financial crisis the country is in already. They bravely continue to walk, or if they are “lucky”, get to use trains, boats, traffickers’ cars, vans, lorries and other means of transportation(there were 71 poor souls whose life journeys cruelly and tragically ended on a side road in Austria this week) , all in the hope of a peaceful existence, away from oppression.
Adam and Liz Gough, dear friends of ours who have been working as relief workers in Greece for the past three years, have started two weeks ago travelling back and forth to the border of Greece with the Republic of Macedonia, to the small town of Gevgelija.
Many Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis aim for the small town of Gevgelija as the first step on their train journey towards Europe. They all hope to be able to board a train for Belgrade, Bulgaria and then head further on to Austria and Germany. They arrive in overwhelming numbers, after days of travelling through the heat and with very little left, in terms of food and financial resources.
Their needs are basic, according to Liz’s update last week: “food, water, clothes and hygiene products (especially feminine hygiene and baby wipes) were the main things.”
Again, quoting Liz’s Facebook update, in order to cover these very basic needs, it takes only £2.50 to buy a woman’s hygiene pack (1 large pack of wet-wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, elastoplasts, miniature deodorant and sanitary pads) and £2 to buy a food pack (1/3 loaf of bread, a tin of meat, cheese, a large tomato, a cereal bar, a chocolate croissant, fruit and juice carton).
I am writing this post in the hope that we can raise enough money to send Adam and Liz for at least 100 hygiene packs. As a family, we are able to cover about 25% of the costs. Following yesterday’s post prompt,a number of friends messaged, offering to contribute too. Would you like to join in too?
Please click here for details on Encounter Compassion, Adam and Liz’s giving page. They use PayPal and donating is only a couple of clicks worth of bother. Or, if you are not a techy person but you still want to help, please do get in touch and we will figure a way to make it happen.
Being able to offer a hand to these people, in their greatest hour of need, is the utmost privilege. It is with the greatest humility (and understanding that it could have been us in their shoes) that I beseech you to contribute.
Thank you all for reading and for your kindness and generosity.