According to the UN Refugee Agency more than 300.000 refugees and migrants are estimated to have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe at the end of last summer. Not all of them make it across alive. The UNHCR stated that some 2.500 people have lost their lives or went missing this year but exact numbers are unclear as some passed through the borders undetected. The voyage to Europe is long and hazardous. Those who do make it still face steep challenges and resources and services are often minimal.

Diaconia Austria, with more than 200 volunteers, is providing assistance in several emergency shelters to ensure the safety and well-being of refugees before the journey continues.

Over the past few weeks, the Johanniter, a member of Diaconia Austria, along with other organisations such as the Red Cross and the Samaritans in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) and the Austrian Police, provided refugees with safe access to basic needs, including food, shelter, sanitation and medical assistance in different areas of the country.

dsc_0403The Johanniter is currently active in the so-called “Blue House” (see picture on the left) at Wien Westbahnhof (Railway station) with an average of 15 people per night and 3 people per day, in the shelter of the Erste Bank – near the Europaplatz in Vienna – with 3 people per day and 3 people per night and in Traiskirchen – a district of Baden in Lower Austria – with composite medical assistance.

In addition, the Johanniter supported the charity concert “Voices for Refugees” at Vienna’s Heldenplatz with 1 ambulance, 17 paramedics and about 4 emergency vehicles.

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