22 October 2015

THE Salvation Army continues to respond to the huge number of refugees currently seeking safety in Germany. Latest figures show that more than 400,000 people arrived in Germany between 5 September and 15 October – an unprecedented number.

Major Cedric Hills, who heads up The Salvation Army's European Refugee Taskforce, is travelling through Germany with Jo Clark (Europe Zone, International Headquarters) to see what The Salvation Army is doing and assess where help and support are most urgently needed.

He writes: 'We started at 6am and joined Mimi and her parents, Majors Poldi and Ruth Walz, as they gave tea and coffee to around 350 people waiting to make their first registration in Berlin. The crowds emerged cold and wet from parks or other shelters to join the queue at the registration centre. The process can take days (up to 50!). Despite this, people were patient, friendly and very grateful.

'Then on to Dresden where we met Aux-Captains Gert and Rosie Scharf who took us to the emergency shelter The Salvation Army manages on behalf of the city. Syrian asylum seekers invited us into their "home" and offered us coffee. They shared how Gert and Rosie were unique among the people they had met. They told us what a huge difference it made that Gert, Rosie and their team of volunteers smiled at them and treated them with dignity and care. Their welcome has been so warm that they have encouraged other asylum seekers to request transfer to The Salvation Army's shelter because it is so special.

'It was moving to hear stories of the journeys to get to Germany – often across several countries. Even more moving was to see the photo of a day-old baby girl born in Syria on Monday to a father who is desperate to be reunited with his wife and new family member. These are heartbreaking stories – but it is a hugely inspirational ministry.'

The Salvation Army is mobilising resources to assist refugees in many European countries. Go to sar.my/europerefugees for the latest news and to use an interactive map showing some of The Salvation Army’s current refugee projects across the continent.

Donations to The Salvation Army's refugee response in Europe can be made online.

Feature by IHQ Communications
International Headquarters

Tags: Europe, Emergencies, Refugees in Europe