In its thousands of years of human history, Greece has seen nothing like the influx of refugees streaming onto its shores in the past year. Fleeing the years-long civil war in Syria, the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, and continued violence in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of men and women, elderly and infants, make the dangerous and too-often fatal water crossing to the Greek islands in overloaded rubber boats.
Once they purchase a seat from a smuggler on the Turkey side (as much as $1,500), there is no going back and no refunds. As the boats are not designed to carry the 50 or more people stuffed onto them, they sit too low in the water. Spray covers everyone and the boat is soon ankle deep in frigid seawater.
SCM’s WORK IN GREECE
Small, nimble NGOs like SCM Medical Missions have made the difference between life and death for these families. We have a multi-national team in Greece, with volunteers from countries around the world. We have translators who speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, and European languages. This is essential in assessing individual needs and keeping families together.
On Lesbos, our team, in coordination with other NGOs, met the boats at the shoreline, day or night, and ensured that everyone got safely off the vessel, into dry clothing and was assessed for medical needs. Our volunteer doctors, nurses, and EMTs then treated them with supplies gathered and sent to the island.
A FLUID SITUATION
The EU has since declared that refugees attempting to go through the island of Lesbos will be returned to Turkey. Refugees have been denied passage across the Macedonian border and had massed near Idomeni, Greece. After several months of this untenable situation at the border, the Greek government removed the refugees out of the camp at the border and into government run camps where they will have more shelter, better sanitation and services.
SCM Medical Missions is working at the new camps to provide services desperately in demand there. We are sending teams of humanitarian volunteers to provide social services, educational services, community activities, and more to the people of the camps. We are in particular need of Arabic speakers.
We expect the situation to continue to be fluid, but we will go where we are needed. If you would like to join one of our teams, download the registration forms (PDF file) by clicking the download button.
Teams arrive on Saturdays and depart on Saturday or Sunday the following week.
SCM Medical Missions intends to remain working in Greece for as long as the crisis requires our services. We will assess the situation regularly, and add more dates to our mission schedule as we see how events are unfolding. We are organized and nimble, able to move locations as the situation evolves.
We need your help to keep hope alive and keep the action going.