Mobile Clinic Visits Refugees

Idomeni Refugee Camp, Greece

Back in August, we visited Idomeni Refugee Camp for the first time. We heard that thousands of Syrian, Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, and other refugees were trying to pass through this land to reach North Europe. What we saw there was shocking. Families with small children and elderly people were trying to reach F.Y.R.O. Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) no matter what, with their life packed in a backpack or grocery store bag. Most of them were from Syria. The entire middle class of Syria has become refugees! We gave them water to drink and shoes and clothes to wear.

Since then, we have continued visiting them two to three times per week. In the beginning, we gave away sandwiches, bread, juice, croissants, fruit, personal hygiene items, diapers, blankets, sleeping bags, etc. Nowadays, a warm meal is prepared and distributed with the help of volunteers. The food is given in bags along with bottles of water.

Through exemplary refugee care in Idomeni, the work and participation is equally accepted by all the NGOs activated there. Thus, every week we participate in two to three meetings for the organization and function of the camp created in Idomeni.

When we first went to Idomeni, about 500 people had crossed the border to Europe. Now, in the beginning of 2016, approximately 2,000-3,000 cross it daily. November 9th was the peak day, when 10,536 refugees passed on a single day. (Data from the UNHCR organization)

In mid-November, the European governments decided to only accept refugees who were Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi, while all others were excluded. For almost 20 days, we gave food every day to 3,000-5,000 refugees left behind at the border. After some really hard times there, these people were sent back to Athens, which continues today. In Athens they are given temporary shelter in stadiums and squares.

During the first week of November 2015, our mobile clinic went to Athens to the Hockey Stadium and Victoria Square. Many immigrants were examined by general practitioners, dentists, and a radiologist. It is not easy to talk to the refugees hastily passing through to Europe. When we have the opportunity to talk to them, we give them resources for reading and hearing messages of hope. While refugees were being examined by our doctors in Athens, many came and asked us for more resources for friends and relatives.

Throughout 2015, there were more than 40 medical and dental trips to the Pomak Villages in Idomeni, Drama, Thessaloniki, and Athens. We have visited Idomeni to distribute supplies more than 50 times, with more than 300 volunteers. Each trip to distribute supplies costs about $1,100-$1,700. We received many useful household items, clothing, tents, and nonperishable food items from supporters and charities. Many monetary and goods donations came from all over Greece. We are grateful for all the support!

Dimitris
GHNI Partner

Thank you!