|An Iraqi family who managed to make the journey safely to Samos.|
This report of yet another tragedy off the coast of Greece has just reached me from Max McClellan who is working with the Diocese and with United Society (formerly USPG) in Greece.
This morning 26 Kurdish refugees from Iraq were confirmed to have drowned off the coast of Samos Island in Greece on 28 January as they attempted to cross to Europe from Turkey. 10 of the dead were children; five boys and five girls.
Despite the winter weather and dangerous seas refugees continue to arrive on Greek islands in their thousands. Over 200 people have drowned crossing from Turkey since the beginning of the year. The Anglican Chaplaincy in Greece, with the support of the Diocese in Europe and United Society continue to support a Greek medical organisation “Medical Intervention” on Samos Island. For those who arrive safely by boat to Samos many need medical treatment and Medical Intervention is there to provide it. The contributions from the Church are being used to buy medicines, soaps, blankets and sleeping bags. Medical Intervention also provides baby milk to those with young infants.
The medical issues for refugees arriving on Samos are numerous. Beside all the routine maladies and medical conditions, they are suffering from conditions brought on by their arduous journeys and cramped living conditions, like scabies.
The Anglican Church continues to fund the good work of Medical Intervention on Samos. Meanwhile, the continuing loss of life in the Aegean Sea whilst countries disagree over shared responsibilities is deplorable. As was noted during a recent combined statement between the World Council of Churches and the UN “It is of urgent importance that safe and legal passage for refugees coming to Europe be expanded and facilitated. Closing national borders to refugees is not a solution because it only shifts the responsibility to the next country.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their family members off the coast of Samos yesterday.
|The walls of Medical Intervention’s clinic are filled with the pictures of the children they have treated. They often show the boat trip from Turkey. This picture shows the child’s refugee boat being rescued by the Greek Coastguard.|
|Afghan mother takes her children for a medical check-up on Samos Island|