Two days ago, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck northeast of Rome, Italy. Over 260 individuals have been confirmed dead from the quake, and over 5,000 rescuers are searching for the estimated hundreds still trapped in the rubble. Relief efforts have been difficult as over 900 aftershocks have continued to devastate the mountainous area, making the search for survivors even more perilous. Thanks to our network of partners across the globe, Convoy of Hope Europe stands ready to respond to the crisis by utilizing contacts in cities like Rome, Milan, and L’Aquila. The earthquake zone is currently open only to those sent by the government. However, our partners are in the area looking for ways to provide assistance. To contribute to our disaster response in Italy, please click below and donate now. Thank you! DONATE
The Refugee Crisis is not over, and the plight of the refugees is as difficult as ever. The situation at the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France is complicated and tragic. More than half of the camp has been dismantled and demolished by French authorities. The south section has been completely closed, with authorities making plans to demolish the north side as well. The remaining 4,500 asylum seekers in the camp are being forced to either register for asylum in France, or leave the camp and find a new place to stay until the crossing to England can be accomplished. In Dunkirk, officials have taken significant action to correct inhumane living conditions for families. Heated shelters have been provided with regular meals, and officials are overseeing operations. The camp is still closed to outside humanitarian organizations, but we are believing for a breakthrough! Flashlights have been added to our latest assistance packages to both camps in Calais and Dunkirk. The flashlights are hand-cranked and do not require batteries, as batteries have been expensive for the families already living on what they were able to bring with them in the boat. A team last week distributed 500 care packages with flashlights in the Jungle alone. In Macedonia, Convoy of Hope Europe is working with Assembly of God missionaries and the National Church of Macedonia to support a feeding program for asylum seekers in the refugee camp along the northern border near Bosnia. Milk for babies and blankets are currently also being distributed in the camp. A new project is in the works for another feeding program in an additional camp. Convoy of Hope Europe is also continuing feeding programs in Jordan and Bulgaria for Syrian refugees. In Bulgaria, the Convoy of Hope Oasis Center continues to be a center for activity and food distribution for the people in the camp. In an effort to expand work with asylum seekers, the COHEU Response team will be headed to Greece next week for a mass distribution and scouting trip. Other avenues are also being pursued in Italy and Turkey!
While police authorities are restricting the refugee camp in Calais, in northern France, a new camp has formed over the past few months 20 kilometers away in the town of Dunkirk. Living conditions in Dunkirk are equally as rough as Calais, and with the new year, Convoy of Hope Europe has pledged to adopt this new area as well. New partnerships have made this additional effort a possibility, and a plan to implement many of the same services as are offered in Calais is already underway. With the frigid temperatures, stoves are going to be a priority for refugee families like Mahmoud’s, which recently arrived from Syria and is not accustomed to cold weather. Mahmoud is a violinist, who decided to flee with his wife and children after his brother was one of many brutally massacred in their city. Now, he plays Christian music on his violin and ministers to others at the camp until their application for asylum is reviewed. There are more families like Mahmoud’s arriving daily. The Syrian Refugee Crisis is the largest humanitarian crisis of our era, larger than from Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian tsunami, and the Haiti earthquake combined. Over 12 million people have been displaced, injured, or otherwise in need of direct humanitarian assistance, and there is no end to the fighting in sight. As the number of refugees grows, our response will need to grow as well. To support this work with refugees across Europe and the Middle East, donate here! DONATE
A new year begins for Convoy of Hope Europe with continuing work with in the Jungle refugee camp of Calais, France. New police restrictions on the land that the refugees and migrants are allowed to occupy meant a large portion of the Christian community started in the camp needed to be moved. People in the newly restricted sections were given three days to move. With previous construction teams, basic wooden structures had been built to offer families some additional protection against the mud and the elements. Now, there was three days to move them before they would be destroyed. Another team from England mobilized quickly to help, and were able to get all of the residential huts moved. Through some discussion with the authorities, not everything had to be moved. Our team was given permission for the community center and kitchen to remain where they are. We are unsure of the future of the camp, but we are committed to assisting the people within for as long as it stands. With winter settled over the area, there remains a significant risk of freezing for those without blankets and warm clothing. Many families huddle together to maintain a sense of warmth, and Convoy of Hope Europe has been working to supply gas heaters and extra gas canisters to additional families that are still arriving daily.