Since the arrival of a high number of refugees in Europe in the summer 2015, an unprecedented number of Johanniter volunteers and every Johanniter local associations have been involved in helping refugees.
Our German JOIN member currently runs emergency and long term accommodations for around 40,000 people in 125 refugee facilities across the country. Around 2,500 Johanniter staff provide medical assistance, emergency shelters and accommodation facilities (notably for unaccompanied minors).
Since the number of newly arrived refugees in Germany has decreased significantly since January 2016, Johanniter Germany expects the closing of emergency shelters during the next weeks and months.
As a partner of the federal regions, Johanniter Germany has also proved its excellent capacity in the creation of long-term accommodations while providing language training and assistance to facilitate the integration process.
Follow this link (in German) to get more information on Johanniter’s refugee aid in Germany.
In the year 2015, Johanniter Austria assisted about 10,000 refugees. Our Austrian JOIN member first provided quick medical assistance to refugees at the border with Hungary in Nickelsdorf and near the refugee camp of Traiskirchen. Many refugees suffered from numerous wounds like blisters and abrasions caused by the daily long marches, as well as skin rashes, cold and flu. In Vienna, Johanniter volunteers and employees delivered sanitary and medical services every night to 500 refugees waiting for connecting trains at the Westbahnhof railway station.
In October 2015, Johanniter and Erste Bank welcomed 100 asylum-seekers for a few months into an accommodation facility in Mariahilfestraße in Vienna. The aim was to provide the asylum-seekers with dignified accommodation while awaiting the response of their application.
Since 2016, Johanniter Austria is running two different accommodation centers in Vienna: volunteers and employees take care of 180 asylum-seekers in the district of Währing and up to 750 refugees in the district of Liesing. The house in Währing just closed end of March. The temporary accommodation center in Liesing is expected to close in 2017.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, more than half of all Syrians have been forced to flee. Around 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria, and almost four million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Since 2012, Johanniter International Assistance has helped refugees fleeing violence in Syria to neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan, with support such as distribution of non-food items and psychosocial support. More than 160,000 refugees have directly benefited from the activities lead by our JOIN member. Amongst other, 93,000 children have been vaccinated against poliomyelitis last December.
The civil war in Syria is now in its sixth year; the need for additional relief goods, hygiene kits, food parcels and cash assistance therefore remains urgent. The context of the crisis is constantly changing, and with it the needs of the target population. Over the course of 2016, Johanniter International Assistance intends to focus increasingly on providing assistance to traumatised refugee children. In this regard, child-friendly spaces have been set up where children can learn and play again, and also offer psychosocial support to women and children. Johanniter International Assistance has also just started long-term projects for the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities and for improving health care in Syria.
Furthermore, the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group shall launch a project in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to establish a Diabetic Screening Programme in northern Jordan. Thousands of refugees who have been forced to flee Syria will be the beneficiaries. This is the first time that our JOIN member from Jerusalem shall have projected services into a neighboring country.
Aside from in Syria, refugees in many other countries need assistance too. In Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan or South Sudan, people are fleeing violence, hunger or poverty on a daily basis.
In Afghanistan, Johanniter International Assistance provides medical and psycho social assistance to refugees from Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people have fled violence and fighting across the border. Many of them are traumatised by what they have experienced in their home country and during their flight.
In Colombia, serious human rights violations during decades of armed conflict have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee within their own country. Together with the local partner organisation “Fundacion Las Golondrinas”, Johanniter International Assistance has provided a kindergarten and work schemes for parents to support displaced families.
In December 2013, violent conflicts erupted in South Sudan. More than two million persons have so far been driven from their homes, many of them fleeing across the border into Kenya. Johanniter International Assistance currently provides support to 24 health centers in the south of South Sudan. In Kenya, 7 Health Centers in the refugee camp of Kakuma receive medical support. The primary focus is put on maternal and child health to improve the situation of pregnant women and children. Additionally, mobile eye clinics, dental clinics and orthopedic clinics are provided.
In the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fighting continues to erupt between various armed groups. Evictions and attacks against civilians are common and have resulted in about 610,000 people being displaced; many of them have sought refuge in camps or in host families. Recently, the security situation in Goma has improved somewhat, leading many people to return to their home.
In the six health zones of Karisimbi, Rutshuru, Mweso, Birambizo, Masisi and Bambo, Johanniter International Assistance provided support to 29 health facilities with primary health care. In addition, an ongoing project focuses on the treatment of survivors of sexual violence, HIV patients, pregnant women and newborns, malnourished and undernourished patients as well as people with disabilities.
Follow this link to get more information on Johanniter’s refugee aid worldwide.