Greece (MNN) — Fires have been roaring across Greece for the past week, leaving behind only ash, tears, and uncertainty. The death toll is rising, and there are even suspicions of arson. Greece has declared a national state of emergency and had three days of national mourning last week.
Right now, Tasos Ioannidis of AMG International says one of the biggest obstacles is the lack of clear answers.
“The official death toll is at 91 right now, although divers just pulled out another body [yesterday],” he says. “There are also 25 people who are missing.”
The fact that numbers keep changing and that so many are still missing means families are waiting with bated breath for news of loved ones.
The source of the fire is questionable, too. Was the fire arson or accident? Did it start as a wildfire or wilful unlawfulness? It seems that a verdict is still going to be hard to reach, even by the government.
“The government has stated that they suspect arson, although there are additional reports that they have arrested an individual who was burning leaves.”
In other words, there are just too many unknowns to have clear answers about anything right now. What is for certain is that people will need help.
“There has been a lot of initial outpouring of help, and there’s a lot of provision right now for the individuals who have been affected,” Ioannidis says. “The government has announced a number of measures to assist those who lost a loved one or lost property in the tragedy.”
AMG partners have been in contact with friends and family in the areas to find out what people need. Some of their partners have had property destroyed, so AMG is trying to discern what the best way to move forward will be.
“We are basically providing emotional support, we are talking to people, and we are waiting to see exactly what will be needed for the long term,” he says.
Summertime is already busy for AMG. They’re involved in several missions opportunities in Greece, and summer is usually filled with camps for locals and refugees as part of an ongoing ministry to families who have fled their homes and countries. AMG will continue these projects, but it’s going to mean courage and perseverance on the part of workers in Greece.
And it’s going to mean prayer on the part of people at home.
“This tragedy, even for the people who did not suffer any loss in the event, has caused a lot of stress and has been a very emotional experience. There has been a lot of national gloom, so to speak, because of this,” Ioannidis says.
“This is an opportunity to tangibly express the love of Christ, to talk with them, to share with them the hope that only Christ can give, so pray that God will use this tragedy to spread His message.”
Header photo courtesy of Pixabay.