Week of Compassion update: Refugee Crises in Europe and the Middle East

Week of Compassion update: Refugee Crises in Europe and the Middle East

We continue to pray and lift the thousands of refugees in Europe and the Middle East as the crises worsen and continue to dominate the headlines. More than 267,000 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters have now survived treacherous voyages to European shores in what the United Nations has described as the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

For some of these thousands, their overland journeys take them into Greece, Serbia, and Hungary-countries straining to provide humanitarian support of this scale. As the world calls on European leaders to implement long-term strategies to welcome families from not only Syria, but Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia, we are called on to meet their immediate needs.

Aid and advocacy are now sorely needed, and both require great coordination of efforts. In a letter issued earlier this week to the global member churches, the World Council of Churches writes, “In this critical moment, ecumenical cooperation in the response is especially important, in order to enhance the collective impact of our various
activities, to encourage others and to give a common witness of compassion, justice and peace. The nature of this crisis calls for both humanitarian support and advocacy with governments.”

Just since last week, our partners at ACT Alliance continued to mobilize humanitarian response to the growing crisis, and Week of Compassion expanded existing efforts, channeling additional resources to member organizations in Greece, Serbia, and Hungary. Their needs are staggering. In Greece, as infrastructure is strained and registration waiting periods continue to increase, families sheltering on open beaches await a harsh cold season.

Exhausted and overextended aid workers in Serbia rush to collect warm clothes, medicine, food, and diapers to accommodate the heightening influx.Workers in Hungary face a mounting need for hygienic supplies, psychosocial support services, and means of providing state-mandated access to education.With the lack of a legal path into many countries, all are at imminent risk from smugglers and traffickers.

In the days to come, your Week of Compassion will continue to work with partners to provide food, water, warm clothing, and shelter to the thousands of displaced persons for whom the journey is only beginning. Thank you for your support and partnership, and for putting your Compassion into Action for the thousands of lives impacted by the crisis.

Click here to learn about ways that the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Global Ministries involvement are responding to the Syria crisis and ways that you can help.