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Migrant Crisis in Europe: What is ADRA doing?

Migrant Crisis in Europe: What is ADRA doing?

A refugee camp in Serbia (ADRA Serbia)

What are we going to do about these refugees ? Are we practicing what we have learned from the bible?

September 29, 2015 | Bern, Switzerland. | A. Mazza, ADRA EU, CD EUD NEWS.

When we see pictures of refugees, what do we think about? 742 million people live in Europe - 508 million people in the European Union territory. About 5 million immigrants come into the EU every year (it is less than 1% ). What are we going to do about these refugees ? Are we practicing what we have learned from the bible?

In Matthew 25:35 we read: "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."

Here, an update of ADRA Europe's work:

·  ADRA Greece: ADRA Slovenia is working in Greece (that does not have an ADRA office). It is working with doctors that are assisting the migrants in Greece. ADRA is also trying to link with Red Cross. 35 Danish volunteers and medical teams are there on the ground. SLOGA (Slovenian NGO platform) is collecting various items and sending them to Greece (ADRA Slovenia is a major player in this). A growing number of refugees are coming in and especially the intervention at Lesbos Island is getting a lot of media attention.

·  ADRA Macedonia: There are two critical points where migrants are in transit, Greece and Macedonia. ADRA is using church members as volunteers and distributing NFIs (hygiene packages mostly). ADRA has good government and UNHCR contacts and further collaboration is expected.

·  ADRA Serbia: About 25 000 migrants are in transit, 800 – 1500 entering through Macedonia (and some via Bulgaria now) daily. It is difficult to address them as they are not in camps, people are on the move.  Belgrade currently has shelter options for 2000 people and more are being planned. Information and protection issues are very important – ADRA is meeting immediate needs, information about human rights and refugee rights, but access to medical assistance is becoming a difficult issue (there is a medical response but not enough, they are already overwhelmed). Translation and support in dealing with various authorities and support systems is very important – asylum information center has made a name for itself. ADRA has a highly regarded image and is very active in various coordination fora. 

·  ADRA Croatia is collecting NFIs and sending them to Serbia. 29 000 migrants have traveled through Croatia till now. They don’t stay long in the country.  Red Cross is the lead agency that the government is working through, and now they have included ADRA as an implementing partner with access to the camp to distribute collected items. ADRA would like to establish an information center like the one in Serbia, as this has proved to be a very important issue and very good for publicity as well. The Red Cross is agreeing to do so.

·  ADRA Slovenia:  So far Slovenia has supported Greece, Macedonia and Serbia with various things but they have now become an implementing partner as well. They are well positioned to respond to the emergency based on the experiences and the good connections they have made . The government has very little experience and relies on the NGOs to assist the refugees. Generally, there is a very negative response to the refugees with hate speech and threats. ADRA has created good relationship with the media. There are refugee centers at the border to accommodate the refugees. Migrants are not allowed to move from the centers and have very little information about their rights and what services are available. Thus, they are taken in buses directly to the centers and they are taken to certain asylum areas. ADRA is very flexible, providing tents and medical teams that are working, caring for reunion of family members. Official numbers are not the same as the real numbers, that are about 4 times as much.  ADRA works to provide shelter, charge stations (for cell phones etc.) and human contact/touch, taking care of the children. Gathering in kind donations for distribution from across the country. Red Cross and Caritas are the ones counted as emergency organizations, but ADRA has also applied. ADRA is part of the cluster meetings, part of the sub-groups.

·  ADRA Hungary: Since the crisis in august the ADRA staff has seen so many people willing to help. About 150 000 migrants are going through Hungary. ADRA helped them in several ways. for example in the railway station of Budapest, working with the church and volunteers and also at several border exit points. There are changes taking place. Many of the donor countries have helped ADRA. There has been a lot of media on the different areas where there has been revolts and riots. ADRA has had a meeting with government representatives and is working with the Red Cross. Hungary does not want ADRA to organize camps, but there are official centers. People are waiting for the approval of their papers so they can stay. The centers are full, ADRA needs more help. ADRA supports a lot with food, water and psychosocial support. The migrants don't want to stay in Hungary but want to reach Germany and Austria. ADRA works with an organization that supports with medical assistance. No actions are possible without direct consent and approval from the government and relevant ministries. 

·  ADRA Italy: There are about 85 000 migrants in Southern Italy and another 16 000 in Sicily. They come from many different countries, but mainly from the African continent. A network of hospitality is run by the government and ADRA is part of this network in different centers (14 of them),  providing shelters, sanitation kits, food and psychological support. ADRA has big opportunities to work even more with the government. The situation in the Southern part of Italy is very critical.

·  ADRA Bulgaria: ADRA with the church has made several actions in the different camps when it comes to provide for food, clothing, sanitary kits and medicines. Today most of the refugees have improved their condition, but they are still in need. Those who leave the refugee camps have difficulties to get shelter, work etc. due to the lack of relevant language skills.

The EUD Public Relations Department stated as follows: "It is wonderful to see the commitment, passion and love of the ADRA Staff & Volunteers, while meeting the needs of the migrants. In Europe, ADRA is nowadays a respected and appreciated humanitarian organization. This makes us proud. There is still a lot to do, but with God's help we will be able - all together - to give to our migrant sisters and brothers the dignity that all human beings deserve.

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