, South American Division
Seventh-day Adventist volunteers are providing medical care to 650 refugees at a recently opened camp near Greece’s capital, and they are appealing for assistance as more refugees arrive every day.
Adventist Help, a bus-based medical clinic operated by ASI Europe, an Adventist supporting ministry, has been tasked by the Greek military with caring for the refugees since the Oinofyta camp opened 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Athens in April.
The camp has 650 residents, mostly from Afghanistan, living in an old factory, but the number is growing daily as more people arrive in hope of starting a new life in Europe, said Michael-John Von Hörsten, coordinating doctor for Adventist Help.
“There is a huge need for expanding our services to other areas, including dental,” Von Hörsten said.
The camp has room for 2,000 people.
Von Hörsten said Adventist Help volunteers were working with the Greek air force and nongovernmental organizations such as DoYouPart.org and Armanano Aid to give the camp residents a good quality of life as far as possible. Among the recent additions to the camp are a school, sports areas, and special rooms for mothers.
“But there is still a lot to be done,” Von Hörsten said.
The camp is different from Adventist Help’s initial project, when it parked its bus on a beach on the Greek isle of Lesbos last fall and fished refugees out of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Now we are taking long-term care of these vulnerable groups,” Von Hörsten said. “It is very special and unique for us because now we can develop closer relationships with each refugee in the camp and make a tangible difference in their lives.”
More than 50,000 refugees are living in uncertainty in Greece as they wait for information about whether the authorities have accepted their asylum applications. Some have lost contact with their loved ones in conflict-torn areas and do not even know whether they are still alive. Many live in barracks, making life especially difficult for the ill, children, and pregnant women.
“There are many places in Greece where refugees are not getting proper care like that offered in our camp,” Von Hörsten said. “The situation is even more difficult in the east, like in Turkey and Iraq. We would be very happy to be able to do more.”
He said Adventist Help needed more physicians as well as funding for medicine, medical equipment, and operating expenses. He said 100 percent of all donations go directly to Adventist Help, and donors can specify which needs they want to meet by sending an e-mail to [email protected].
“Please feel free to contact us in case you have interest in becoming involved,” he said.
Watch a June 2016 video report about Adventist Help’s work at the Oinofyta refugee camp. (Trans-European Division)
Donations can be transferred by wire to Adventist Help’s bank account:
Bank: Luzerner Kantonalbank
6002 Luzern, Switzerland
Markus Alt-Buckley, Sonnmattstrasse 46, 6043 Adligenswil
IBAN: CH57 0077 8158 4435 1200 3