As media attention has slowly faded, so have the thoughts of many people toward the refugee crises in Europe. However, AGWM missionaries in Europe are still at the front lines, engaging with refugees from countries such as Guinea, Morocco and Syria. What follows is the current state of refugees and migrants in Europe, through the lens of our Europe Region.
The total number of refugee arrivals into Europe is less than in 2013 as the crisis began to unfold. In 2018, there were 9,810 arrivals into Europe. The Mediterranean Sea continues to be the focus of many of the arrivals—though that has started to change as some take a land route through the Balkan countries in southeast Europe. For those crossing the Mediterranean, Spain is the main arrival country. On average, six persons died per day in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe in 2018.
The land route through the western Balkans has seen increased activity over 2018. Migrant flow continues to go north and west, with entry points from non-EU countries in Greece, Albania, and Montenegro. Migrants then continue on through Northern Macedonia, Serbia and finally to Bosnia & Herzegovina where they eventually try to enter Croatia and Slovenia before going on to northern and western Europe. Many refugees are gathering in Bosnia & Herzegovina as Croatia is applying to join the Schengen Accord (which allows free movement between member countries), and is compelled to harden its external border. The greatest number of refugees have gathered in and around Velika Kladusa and Bihac in northwestern Bosnia & Herzegovina, where there are around 5,400 gathered.
An area to watch is the Sahel of Africa (the semi-arid belt of countries between those adjoining the Mediterranean and those adjoining the Gulf of Guinea), due to climate change, declining economic prosperities, radical Islamic insurgencies, and the resultant political instability. Many are waiting to see if the people of the Sahel will move north into Europe or stay within the Sahel region.
Overall, God continues to move through our missionaries to reach these displaced people wherever they may be in their journey, as they minister to their physical and spiritual needs. It is with this current update that we continue to pray and stand with those who are marginalized in this way.