Tasos Ioannidis of AMG International says, “Since then, the government has been building another temporary location on the island, which now contains more than 10,000 refugees. They tried to prevent the refugees from leaving the island, they were forcibly contained. The government would not give them the freedom to travel or anything like that.”
In the next few months, Ioannidis says, the government plans on moving more refugees on to the Greek mainland. That’s where AMG will get to work with them. “We work in Athens, and in Thessaloniki, the two biggest cities. We work in a number of locations for the refugees there.”
Roadblocks to the migration process
Typically, refugees would move on to the Greek mainland, then travel further into Europe. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into this normal immigration process. Ioannidis says, “To be honest, right now, most of them are staying in Greece. They will be dispersed throughout Greece eventually and absorbed in local communities.”
Frustration over the slow migration process has been blamed for the Moria fire itself. Several Afghan refugees were charged with starting the fire. Ioannidis says, “The authorities are saying it was a desire from the refugees to force the hand of the government to move them out and to take them to the mainland.”
The refugees in the Moria camp lived in severely cramped and unsanitary conditions with little hope of getting out. Unfortunately, conditions in the new camp aren’t much better.
Pray these refugees can be processed to the Greek mainland and that AMG’s ministry to them will be fruitful. Many refugees have already embraced the Gospel with joy.
The header photo shows a refugee camp in Greece. (Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash