Update From Athens – The Migrant Crisis Continues

Canon Malcolm Bradshaw has just sent these latest reports and pictures from Athens to guide our prayers and concerns.

At 7.55am on Saturday 15 August, (PICTURE ABOVE) Fr Malcolm, the chaplain at St Paul's, Athens, arrived at Omonia Sq., a central square in the city, where migrants and refugees had just arrived after an overnight journey from the Greek island of Kos. Earlier in the week 7,000 migrants/refugees were on Kos mingling with tourists - largely British. Sadly the Greek Government was not prepared for such numbers. They described their stay in Greece as 'being pure hell'. They had arrived in Kos by making the half hour sea crossing from Turkey in small dinghies.

Fr Malcolm joined Captain Polis Pantelidis of the Salvation Army in Greece who was giving out milk and sandwiches.

Captain Polis Pantelidis helped by Fr Malcolm gives out milk. It is the women and the children who most appreciate the milk. 

Maria Pantelidis of the Salvation Army is in the centre of a family group of refugees which numbered 28 members. Maria had just assured them of her support and prayers.

By 8.30am the traffickers had moved in - the man in the green top. Haggling takes place about the next part of the journey - probably a coach to the Macedonian border or accommodation for a three day stay in Athens while documents(false) and travel arrangements are sorted for entry into northern Europe - Germany or Scandinavia. The money being made from the migrants/refugees is huge.

By 8.50am Fr Malcolm had finished giving out sandwiches. He rejoins Captain Polis. The square has began to empty of migrants/refugees - led away by the traffickers. This small family group is awaiting the arrival of a contact. In the square, the migrants/refugees are replaced by the drug peddlers. A female teenager refugee sauntered unaccompanied across the square, so vulnerable. Across the other side of the square other groups of migrants/refugees are seen emerging from the metro station already headed up by traffickers. So it happens each morning.