In Greece, Private Groups Fill in Shortfalls in the World’s Response

ESPMI Network

BN-OK370_volunt_J_20160609120609 Volunteers with Hot Food Idomeni provide meals for refugees, northern Greece, March 2016. PHOTO: DAN HAIMOVICH

By DANA SACHS
June 10, 2016 3:29 p.m. ET

As Syria’s civil war worsens and Islamic State continues to hold on to large swaths of Iraq, Europe has been shaken by the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Nearly 5 million Syrians have fled the country, and Turkey alone has been struggling to cope with nearly 3 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Wealthy countries and international aid agencies have failed to mount an effective response to this humanitarian crisis, leaving private groups and individuals to try to fill the gap. That combination—of global shortfall and individual altruism—is on particularly vivid display in Greece, where limited relief funds, poor coordination, a shattered domestic economy and a now-blocked exit route into the Balkans have left some 57,000 refugees and migrants stranded in often squalid conditions.

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