We have started on our first mission in 2020 bringing aid to several of the refugee community ‘hotspots’ of Athens.
Today we will visit a large number of Congolese refugees sheltered in an old school. The women of one of the couples living there, will have to give birth to a baby soon: we will visit MSF (Doctors Without Borders) today with them. Yesterday there was nobody at MSF to help us, which is the case for many of the NGO’s operating in the city center on the 1st of January. Our aim is to assess what the direct and urgent needs of the entire Congolese group are and specifically how we can facilitate a safe birth for the baby and mother.
Over the next week we will bring warm clothes, shoes, and basic food supplies to people living on the street in front of Eleonas refugee camp. These people have no access to that camp, and are living in terribly poor conditions on the side of a busy road ,where large trucks pass by every minute. Refugees in the camp (see photo below) help us in solidarity with those highly vulnerable refugees outside the camp.
A new initiative from the privately run NGO ‘Our House’ has recently opened up its doors to over a hundred people per day, serving food and hosting those without shelter offering a warm welcome. Children also receive special care and we will step in to see which urgent needs these vulnerable youngsters might have and in which ways we can assist.
I have brought another journalist along on our trip, Edith Tulp, who I will direct towards the most important players in the field in relation to urgent aid actions in Athens. She will write an article on how, in urgency situations, homeless refugees can or cannot get access to what they lack.
The weather is cold and stil dry although some rain or even snow is forecasted in the next days, during the first week of January 2020.
Photos J.T. Hof