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Greek Orthodox humanitarian arm Apostoli adopts Samos “hotspot” to aid refugees

02 March 2016

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens is caring for the nutritional and clothing needs of refugees and migrants hosted at the identification and registration centre on the Greek island of Samos.

Known as a “hotspot”, the centre is under construction.

In financial crisis, Greece continues to play a pivotal role in accepting refugees and migrants and the Church of Greece is active on the islands in this process.

Apostoli is the largest food relief organization in Greece, and works in partnership with International Orthodox Christian Charities.

According to the International Organization for Migration, as of 22 February, Greece alone had received some 102,547 arrivals since the beginning of the year.

The Greek Orthodox Church hotspot provides food, clothes, medicines and bedding to all refugees and migrants arriving at the centre. It includes thousands of beds which will be distributed to the other five hotspots now being built on several Aegean islands.

Officials have noted the risk of refugees getting stuck in Greece if some neighbouring countries decide to close the borders.

"The government is making all the necessary moves so that this is averted," shipping minister Theodoros Dritsas said, adding that the creation of hotspots is a "national issue."

Those working in assisting refugees and migrants say their task is often made more difficult over incoherence in European Union policy and the inability of EU member states to agree on its implementation.

More information on WCC work on migration

Organization founded by Greek Orthodox priest awarded for helping refugees (WCC press release of 25 February)

More information about the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)

WCC/UN conference calls for coordinated action on refugee crisis (WCC press release of 20 January)