HELPING REFUGEES / NDIHMOJMË REFUGJATËT / pomoć izbeglicama HELFEN FLÜCHTLINGE / مساعدة اللاجئين / Aide réfugiés /

“"An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011"”

“"Hundreds of migrants stuck in no man's land at the Greek-Macedonian border stand next to these heartbreaking words scrawled on a piece of cardboard."”

“"Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time"”



Refugee Crisis / Newsbox

Thursday, March 31, 2016

About 400 refugees from Syria and Iraq stuck for days at the Macedonian-Serbian frontier

11.03.2016, By JOVANA GEC, Associated Press
TABANOVCE, Macedonia (AP) — Yousif Shikhmous had such high hopes of starting a new life in Germany that when his son was born, the Syrian refugee named him Merkkel. Only four months later, Shikhmous has seen all those dreams shattered after he and his family boarded what has become known as "The Last Train to Europe."
The group of about 400 refugees from Syria and Iraq were among the last to enter Macedonia from Greece, where they got stuck this week when the Balkan countries started closing their borders, abruptly shutting the main migrant pathway to Europe.
The group of mostly women and small children had caught a northbound train that took them to the border with Serbia. But instead of moving on, they found themselves in a no-man's-land between the Macedonian and Serbian frontiers — mired in a muddy limbo created by the latest chaos marking Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II.
Thousands of people now are similarly stuck along the route through the Balkans that saw more than 1 million people surge out of Turkey, through Greece and toward the wealthier nations of Europe in 2015.
Refused permission to move onward, they are caught by the suddenly changing entry rules and living in dire conditions in small, donated tents. And more people fleeing war and poverty keep streaming out of the Middle East and elsewhere.
About 14,000 people are stranded on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia, and authorities hope to start relocating most of them from an overcrowded refugee camp there in the coming weeks. Tensions are running so high at the camp near the Greek village of Idomeni that fights over food broke out Friday as aid organizations distributed the supplies, leaving some people bloodied and limping.
It took two months for the Shikhmous family — 32-year-old Yousif, his 20-year-old wife, Dilan Haji, and young Merkkel — to escape the Syrian civil war. Their journey began in the town of Hasaka in northeastern Syria, where their son was born and named for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, even though they spell his name differently.
They went via Turkey and over the Aegean Sea to Greece, crossed the Greece-Macedonia border on foot, and boarded a special train to take the refugees to Serbia, paying 25 euros (about $28) per person.
They reached the Serbian border Monday, where they got off the train to cross the frontier on foot and be taken to a refugee center for processing to continue the journey north.
But nations along the Balkans route have been tightening border restrictions this month on migrants and refugees. This week, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia suddenly refused them transit.
The Shikhmous family and the other refugees never made it across the Serbian border, having been told it had been shut to them for good. Still technically in Macedonia, they can see the Serbian border police patrol about 50 yards (meters) away.
They also learned that Macedonian authorities would no longer take them, having already stamped their papers.
They found themselves trapped, with no shelter or help. For four nights, they have been staying in a sodden field.
"We want them to open the border and to go to Germany," Shikhmous said. "I am waiting here for the border to open."
They stayed in the field, with border police keeping guard behind barricades. As heavy rain started falling, the vast grass field turned into pools of water and ankle-deep mud, strewn with garbage and small fires for warmth. Stray dogs roamed nearby, looking for food scraps amid the waste.
Shikhmous said in broken English that when they arrived, there was "no food, no dress for woman, no dress for men, no milk for baby."
After a day or two, aid groups brought warm clothes, food, rubber boots and jackets, he said. They set up portable toilets and distributed tents. Doctors arrived to check on the children, many of whom have fallen sick with fever and respiratory and stomach ailments.

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Prince Edward County among volunteers helping refugees in Serbia

March 29, 2016
While Prince Edward County has stepped up to welcome three Syrian refugee families, the County’s Richard Campbell is part of the Canadian Rapid Response team deployed to Serbia to help families crossing the border to seek relief from the violence and conflict.
Campbell, a firefighter with Hallowell’s division and a retired OPP Auxiliary member, has been in Prešovo for the past five weeks, with other GlobalMedic volunteers there since November.
On Wednesday, world leaders will be in Geneva and the success of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s drive to resettle 25,000 Syrians in just four months will be in the spotlight. The gathering is hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Regugees and aims to rally international support.
With more than 4.2 million refugees having fled to Europe and surrounding countries, the streets of Serbian border town Prešovo are lined with families waiting to be registered for further travel into Europe. Hundreds more arrive daily.
The anguish and desperation is heartbreaking. The support, heartwarming.
Campbell has been a volunteer with GlobalMedic for almost a decade.
“I read a small ad in an emergency magazine while I was working with the Northbrook Ambulance Service years ago as a non-EMCA paramedic. It just piqued my interest.”
His first deployment was to Pakistan after the big flood to help provide clean water and to set up large shelters for hospital use. Since he has been to the Philippines twice – among large teams providing water and shelter following a typhoon and storm surge in which many drowned.
“For me, it was a very humbling experience. They survived this disaster and still had the strength to smile and to rebuild their lives and never losing faith.”
Since he was been deployed to Kashmir, India in 2014, Nepal in December last year, and now Serbia.
“Luckily, my family has always been very supportive,” Campbell adds.
Over the past month in Prešovo, GlobalMedic, together with the non-government organization grupa484 are distributing clothing, boots, coats and hygiene products to 600-plus people said Campbell, of a camp initially expected to be a transitional stop for people resting and getting clothing before moving on.
Kits include soap, washing powder, toothbrushes, toothpaste, antiseptic, baby diapers and water purification tablets. Family Emergency Kits include essential hygiene supplies such as soap, disinfecting wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, diapers and female sanitary pads.
GlobalMedic has served more than 2,000 families on this mission, with more coming every day.
“Now, most have been here at least four weeks, and counting. But the camps has to be much better than most with large, dry shelters, good drainage and no mud, even after lots of rain. There’s nice, clean, hot showers.”
Prešovo, he says is a bit smaller than Belleville and has an unemployment rate of 70-80 per cent as all the factories have been shut down for many years.
“Most refugees seem to be trying to get to Germany,” said Campbell. “One woman I spoke with is trying to get to Canada, with paperwork submitted, and now, just waiting to hear from our embassy.”
He said a few people become desperate and do leave the camp during the night, taking a cab in hopes to the border.
“Usually they are driven off far from the border, then after paying what they have, are told to get out, and are left stranded. The refugees are cautioned about the cab drivers when getting to the camp, but after weeks of nothing happening, they become desperate, and try on their own anyway.”
The wait is depressing, but not without some fun to relieve a bit of stress the refugees are facing, if only for a short time.
“Entertainment is usually soccer in the parking lot which attracts lots of support and attention. There was even a first Prešovo Championship between various NGO and refugees for the ‘Campions Cup’. Another game today, and tonight, a table tennis competition.
GlobalMedic, based in Toronto, has a few paid employees and the rest are volunteers – many of whom are also doctors, lawyers, nurses and from every walk of life.
Campbell is expecting to be home Wednesday.
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Të rinjtë ndihmojnë migrantët e ardhur

Bujanoc, 18.12.2015
Me rastin e dites nderkombetare te migranteve Zyra per te rinj nga Bujanoci ndihmuan sot ne stacionin e grumbullimit te ndihmave me veshmbathje ne menyre qe ti lehtesojme ditet e ftohta te dimrit gjate rrugetimit te tyre deri ne vendin e caktuar.

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