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Food rations cut; now what?

By September 11, 2015
(Photo courtesy UNHCR)

(Photo courtesy UNHCR)

International (MNN) — 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan were told by text message last week that their food rations were being cut.

The United Nations’ World Food Program sent the message as a last resort when no major donors stepped forward to fund the program further.

As startling as that is, it’s not much better anywhere else. In just 8 months, more than 350,000 refugees have crossed into Europe. More than half of Syria’s population has fled their homes or been killed since the crisis began 4 years ago. The countries receiving them are cash-strapped.

Tasos Ioannidis with AMG International says, ”Some countries have talked about closing borders so that they [the refugees] would not be able to continue and enter their territory. They’re concerned about the economic cost from the refugees and also a fear that somehow the refugees that are coming in are going to be a problem for their local communities.”

The numbers are overwhelming, adds Ioannidis. “One report says that there are 4 million of them on the Turkish coast waiting their turn to cross over. Every day there are more than 3000-4000 that are coming into Greece.”

Without a plan, the crisis has rapidly developed into a humanitarian emergency with thousands of people stranded at various transit points and borders from Greece to Hungary. “They are hoping to be processed as quickly as possible. Their goal is to travel from the Greek Islands to Athens and then head north to the border with Skopje (Macedonia), and then continue on to northern Europe, reach Germany, go to all the different Northern European countries.”

The European Union is being forced to respond. They’re now calling for mandatory refugee quotas in an effort to cope with the hundreds of thousands fleeing war in the Middle East and North Africa. 28 bloc countries are being asked to split up, assist, and take in 160,000 refugees across the EU.

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

Yet in the midst of overwhelming tragedy, in God’s economy, an unprecedented opportunity for hope is emerging. ”We are trying to provide basic material to those who are suffering,” says Ioannidis. “We are partnering with others in the small Greek evangelical community, and we are providing basic food supplies. We are able to provide a couple of days’ worth of supplies to people who are traveling.”

Why only a couple of days’ worth of supplies? Ioannidis responds, “They are carrying them as they are walking or traveling north. That’s all they can take with them, so we try to provide basic food, then provide basic medical care.” An AMG medical van takes basic medical care to the refugees at the northern border of Greece when they can’t come in for help. “They provide supplies, water, basic food, and basic medical supplies so that these people can survive.”

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

The journey is a hard one. Hope can make it endurable for one more day. Ioannidis says their team is open about the reason why they’re there. “We have the opportunity to very tangibly, very practically share with the people that are going through that they are being helped because there are people who love them in the name of Christ, and that plants the seed.“

From there, it’s a matter of prayer. “We don’t know how God is going to use the seed that is sown, in this manner, by providing tangible help, but we’re praying as they continue their way, that the seed that is planted will be cultivated and bear fruit through further contact as they continue their journey.”

For that matter, he adds, “Pray for the workers that are serving every day because this is an emotionally-draining activity, so we need to be praying for more volunteers and for those who volunteer that the Lord will be using them. We need to be praying for the refugees that God will be working in their heart.”

2 Comments

  • I would like to know how these refugees can afford mobile phones. If they can afford phones and thousands of dollars to pay people smugglers surely they can buy food while walking around in their designer clothes. I am also shocked at the number of men arriving who have left their women behind to face persecution. What kind of men are they? One man left his daughters and pregnant wife behind. Australia are taking 12,000 refugees and I suspect they will get government housing in place of the 100,000 Australian homeless people and 200,000 Australian people on public housing waiting lists. We have women in Australia being killed each week from domestic violence who need government support but we will be spending $70 million on helping refugees but we can’t help our own people. Many Muslims call us infidels but who do they run to when they need help – us infidels. Then they turn around and criticise us and our culture and try and change our way of life and our governments are suckers for being too damn politically correct. They criticise us for not doing enough when rich Muslim countries like United Arab Emirates take no refugees. I am glad I don’t live in Europe. I was there a few months ago and everyone I spoke to were frightened of the influx and the change it would lead to in their cultural identity. I am glad we have a stuff stance in Australia.

  • frank vonder says:

    im confused about the syrian refugee crisis after seeing youtube footage of some refugees throwing food back at the helpers. And I’ve also read that these “refugees” actually have a political agenda. Can anybody clarify? Are these actual,needy,victims? Or are they healthy,capable persons with a political agenda?

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