Recently converted Afghan and Iranian Christians have been using their own money to buy and distribute emergency provisions to fellow refugees after Greece’s largest migrant camp burnt down, it is reported.
A blaze, which ripped through the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, forced its 13,000 former occupants to sleep rough in abandoned buildings, on roadsides and even rooftops.
Yaser, an Afghan Christian who regularly visits the refugees, told Christian broadcaster SAT-7 how the new believers prepared and took food to those they knew, before a full-scale United Nations programme was in place.
What little they had…
‘Dear friends who were new believers and had come to faith in the camp were doing this ministry,’ Yaser told Pastor Shoaib, the presenter of a SAT-7 programme. ‘They were using their own money – the little aid money they were receiving from the [Greek] government, to help in this way. Thank God for the heart that He has given them.’
Yaser commented on how the camp’s destruction meant that living conditions for Moria’s 13,000 migrants and refugees (which is more than four times its official capacity and of whom an estimated 70% are Afghans) had become even harder, and most were then sleeping in the open. But he added that ‘with the Lord in their hearts, the Christians have more peace than others’.
Authorities later arrested a group of suspects. Reports suggested a fight had broken out between different ethnic groups amid growing tension in the camp following rumours that more migrants would be sent to Turkey. The fire took place in September.
A group of volunteers from Christian NGO Remar were in Moira during the fire, and stayed there trying to assist the refugees.
Meanwhile, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud in Brussels said transfers from Lesbos to mainland Greece would remain limited. An EU-Turkey deal requires migrants to stay on five islands before their asylum requests are processed. Under the deal, migrants who have their asylum requests denied are deported to Turkey.
Evangelical Focus / SAT-7