Distributions for Distressed Refugees in Croatia

September 21, 2015 • Europe
Refugees in Croatia are willing to accept food and clothing as they continue their journey.

Samaritan’s Purse delivers food, shirts, and socks to those on a desperate journey through Europe.

Salma, her husband, and his brother left their home in Iraq when it burned down one and a half years ago. They moved to Amman, Jordan, with the few belongings they had left in search of a new life.

But life didn’t turn out as they had planned in Jordan, so, recently, they decided to keep moving. They paid to take a six-meter inflatable dinghy from Turkey to the coast of Greece. When they boarded, they saw that 74 other people were also on the boat. While it didn’t seem like a good idea, they felt like they had no other choice.

“Like animals, we were put on the boat,” Salma said.

The trip, which typically takes less than two hours, took seven hours. Waves came over the boat, and it began sinking. Salma and her husband threw everything they had overboard—their bags, passports, and money. They thought they were dying.

“God saved us,” she said. “We don’t know how, but God saved us.”

Salma has now made it to the Croatia-Slovenia border, and she still says the boat was the most difficult part of her journey. They don’t yet know where they’re headed.

“We’re hoping to get to any country that we would be safe and that we would have a normal life,” she said. “[We want to] settle down and be secure and feel that we’re a human being with a life.”

Because Salma had to throw her belongings into the ocean, she’s been wearing the same salty clothes for days while trekking across borders. On Sunday, September 20, she received a new T-shirt and socks from Samaritan’s Purse. In total, we distributed around 900 pairs of socks and 300 T-shirts at the border.

“Like animals, we were put on the boat,” Salma said.

Salma had tears in her eyes as she explained that she’s been begging for necessities the past few days and that it’s something she’s not used to doing. She said the new clothes would help her a lot as she continues toward her new life.

Meeting Needs Along Another Border
On Saturday, September 19, Samaritan’s Purse and our local Christian partners distributed around 800 food parcels at the Croatia-Serbia border. One young man, Modar Wattar, received a parcel for himself and his 11-year-old brother. They had been traveling for a week by the time the reached the border.

Modar said that he had been saving money to leave Syria for a long time. When it was time to go, he decided that he also needed to take his younger brother with hopes that his other brother and parents would soon be able to follow.

“They don’t want me to leave, but I told them we have to because we cannot live in Syria anymore,” he said.

Modar and his brother are headed toward the Netherlands, where he hopes they will both be able to continue school. Unlike many of the refugees, he doesn’t want to return home. He hopes to find a new home in a new country.

Please continue to pray for the safety of asylum seekers on the move through Europe. Pray that they will encounter God’s love in action as they meet Christians, including our staff and partners, along their route.