In the next few weeks, Jacob’s Well plans to send two containers of aid to the desperate Syrian refugees in Greece. Currently there are around 60 000 refugees stranded in Greece waiting for their asylum claims to be processed. The lucky ones are housed in over-crowded camps. In the Athens area where Jacob’s Well is sending its aid, around 12 000 are living in camps. Those unable to get a place in the camps have to sleep on the streets whilst their claims are assessed – a process that can take months if not years.
Jacob’s Well is partnering with a day centre in Athens run by the Salvation Army. Each day hundreds of people come to the centre seeking help with the basic essentials of life. Jacob’s Well is appealing for donations of clothes and personal hygiene items. Wash powder is also needed, otherwise the refugees have no way to wash their clothes. As many refugees travelled in family groups, there also is a great need for children’s clothes, nappies, baby milk, small collapsible push chairs and Moses baskets.. Women queue daily for over an hour to get one carton of UHT milk for their children. If they need clothes or toiletries, they have to go back outside and join another long queue. Nappies are handed out in small bags with 4 nappies in, as there aren’t enough to go round.
John Beynon, Jacob’s Well’s CEO says; “We were asked by Hull Help for Refugees if we could give them clothes to go on their load to Athens. When we looked more closely at the need on the ground, we felt that we had to do much more than that. The conditions that the refugees have to live in is so desperate that some of them are paying to be smuggled back into Syria! Some are committing suicide. Children are traumatized. The mothers are at their wits end, trying to feed their families and entertain their children whilst living in abandoned sheds, or in a small tent in an over-crowded camp. Jacob’s Well is sending one forty foot container to Athens in mid-September with another one to follow at the end of the month. Donations of clothes, personal hygiene items, baby milk or money would be really welcome.”
Since 2015, Greece has been the main entry point into Europe for refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Syria and beyond. A European Union deal with Turkey has helped stem the flow of migrants making the narrow but precarious sea crossing from Turkish shores to outlying Greek islands – but many are still getting across.More than 160,000 people have arrived in Greece by crossing the Mediterranean so far this year according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The majority of new arrivals have applied for asylum in the EU.
Donations can be taken to Jacob’s Well shops in Beverley, Withernsea or Bridlington or to the Warehouse on Swinemoor Lane, Beverley. Money can be given through the office, web-site or by texting JWAS16 to 70070 for gifts of £5 or £10