“It has just been incredibly surreal and emotionally testing.”
As refugees flood in to Italy and Greece at a rate ten times what we saw last January, volunteers on the ground say it’s a daily struggle with their emotions.
Global Okanagan’s Neetu Garcha is in Lesbos in Greece, and says it’s a somber morning with news of more refugee deaths, including 17 children.
“A lot of people come in hypothermic. They are shivering their lips are blue. It is very very difficult conditions for these people. You can’t help but think the ones we meet on the shore who make it safely could have been one of those who drowned. Definitely a somer day for all of us here know just South of this island, South of Lesvos, a boat did capsize.”
Garcha says for her it hits her the hardest when she gets to know refugees who have survived the harrowing journey by sea to get to Greece.
“You can’t help but think oh my gosh this mother this child this father this individual who travelled alone could have been one of those people that drowned. It really hits close to home when you make connections with these people and you realize that some of them are just like someone I know back home.”
Garcha says each day provides not only an array of emotions, but also perspective.
“I was filming the sea where three boats were on the horizon where families and children were freezing and shaking and about to arrive and not know what their next steps are. None of my problems could even compare to anything these people experience on a day to day basis, and their futures are so uncertain.”
One hundred and thirteen refugees have been confirmed to have died trying to reach Europe just this year.
That is more than the last two Januaries combined.