Greece faces potential refugee pile-up

By November 20, 2015
AMG Greece refugees

(Photo courtesy AMG International via Facebook)

Greece (MNN) — As the world reacts to the attacks in Paris, many European countries are considering closing their borders to refugees, which would potentially make the crisis even worse.

“There is a lot more fear. There is a lot more worry that, among refugees, are a number of terrorists,” said Tasos Ioannidis of AMG International.

For Greece, a main entry-point for refugees, border restrictions would cause more problems than they would solve.

“If borders start being restricted, there is no question that a lot of the refugees, instead of just going through Greece, they’re going to be staying in Greece for extended periods of time,” said Ioannidis.

The reality is, these refugees are fleeing the same atrocities which took place in Paris, but on a much larger scale. Since the beginning of the year, 500,000 refugees have entered Europe through Greece, and another 3,400 have drowned trying.

Is there anything that can stop refugees from fleeing the Middle East?

Ioannidis says no.

“Either legally or illegally they are going to come to Greece. And, if borders to other European countries closed, Greece will have a much bigger problem,” he says.

Greece has been facing a financial crisis since 2009 and resources are tight. But, even in light of this, AMG International is helping and ministering to refugees.

Courtesy Photo from AMG International VIA Facebook

(Photo courtesy AMG International via Facebook)

Volunteers are handing out supplies, many of which are provided by the local Evangelical community, to incoming refugees at the border. Basic food packs are also handed out. One pack feeds a family of four for two days and costs $20 to make.

Every day, volunteers encounter anywhere between a couple hundred refugees to a couple thousand. Do the math, and the costs for one day’s worth of basic food packs can range from $4,000 to $40,000.

For AMG, handing out supplies is a way to show refugees the tangible love of Christ.

“That plants a seed and as refugees continue their trip through Europe, they also will come in contact with other Christians in other countries. There are a number of reports that, as the seed is planted and as it is cultivated, it grows, and there are a number of refugees who have come to know Christ,” Ioannidis says.

But, what will happen if Greece faces a refugee pile-up?

“The approach will have to change because, if refugees end up staying in Greece for longer periods of time…It becomes more of an ongoing need. Right now, the help is temporary,” said Ioannidis.

AMG is taking it day-by-day and trusting God to provide as the situation develops and needs increase.

“It’s a difficult situation and we need to be praying for God’s wisdom… the security concerns are valid and also the plight of so many of the refugees is significant,” said Ioannidis. “There needs to be a balance between security and the need for people to find some safe haven as they flee from Syria.”

Please be praying for the safety of the refugees, citizens of Europe, the strength of the AMG staff and volunteers, and for wisdom of all involved in the refugee crisis. And, please pray for peace.

To donate to AMG International’s relief efforts, click here.


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