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Not since the Second World War have there been so many refugees seeking shelter in Europe as today. According to UNHCR, in the years 2015 – 2017, over 2.9 million refugees applied for refugee status in European countries. A very large proportion of them - from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq - came to Europe across the Mediterranean. Due to its geographical location, Greece is providing shelter for a particularly large number of refugees: according to official figures, over 47 000 refugees are currently registered in Greece; more than half of them women and children.
Greece is doing a lot, but it is not enough
Greece, which ever since 2010 has been struggling immensely to deal with its own financial crisis, cannot cope with the many arrivals. The country is overburdened with the registration, accommodation and care of the refugees. Although Greek authorities, national and international NGOs and volunteers are working tirelessly to improve the situation, the need for action does not lessen. The people still lack secure shelter, and many refugees are left to fend completely for themselves without medico-psychological care. They are too little aware of their legitimate rights, and do not know where to find support.
For war-displaced persons in Europe, Caritas Switzerland provides emergency and survival aid totalling some 6 million Swiss francs. It receives support from the German Caritas Association, Caritas Austria, CAFOD, Caritas Portugal, Swiss Solidarity, the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and the German Foreign Office.
Caritas Aid in in the refugees' countries of origin
The many people who are still living in the crisis regions are still in urgend need of assistance. Therefore, Caritas Switzerland also provides aid in Syria and the neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.