Greece (MNN) — New rules put in place between Turkey and the European Union (EU) means the number of refugees fleeing the war in Syria crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece has shrunk over the past weeks.
“There has been a reduction in the flow of refugees, but it has not resolved it,” said AMG President and CEO Anastasios Ioannidis. “Out of the deal with the EU, Turks will be able to travel to Europe without a visa.”
For the humanitarian workers in the refugee camps of Greece, the slow-down of new emigrants means they can focus on those already there.
“[Greeks] are glad to have a reduction in the flow of refugees, “Ioannidis said. “They had no plan to begin with. So, when the number of refugees started to grow, they have not been able to deal with it.”
Despite the agreement and significantly lower numbers of refugees making it to Greece, there were still 155,399 entering Greek shores between Jan. 1 and May 8. In the same timeframe of 2015, just 40,297 during the same time frame in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“I do expect the number stuck in Greece to continue to grow. There are more than 50,000 now. It could go in the 100,000s,” Ioannidis said.
AMG members are helping by providing food, water and medical care to the refugees. Besides their personal needs, Ioannidis says it is a great opportunity to show them the spiritual hope they can have, even as they sit homeless, far from their native country.
“This is a great opportunity for ministry. And that is how we are viewing it. We are seeing a lot of lives being impacted. We are seeing fruit spiritually,” he said. “We are seeing a lot of interest. We are seeing lives changed for eternity. “