Learning the local language during agonizing wait for information

Publié: 21 avril 2016 9:58 CET

By Caroline Haga, IFRC

“My mother and sisters are so sad to be stuck here at the camp unable to join my father and my 13-year-old brother in Germany,” says Almukhtar, 19. “We couldn’t stay in Iraq - there was no safety, only violence and killing. We didn’t have any kind of future there.”

The rest of the family – Almukhtar, his mother, his 17 and 14-year-old sisters and his six-year-old brother – had no choice but to embark on the journey from their hometown Basra. They have already spent two months at the Diavata camp, which is close to the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. Here they eagerly await their interview with EU officials ahead of possible relocation. “The conditions here at the camp were not good in the beginning, but they are improving every day,” Almukhtar says.

As the oldest, Almukhtar is doing his best to take care of his family while they wait. “I have been studying Greek now for some weeks, so that I’ll know the language if we are not granted family reunification or relocation. I’m also volunteering as a translator or wherever I am needed with the Red Cross and the authorities here at the camp. My dream is to become a computer engineer,” he says.

The family are among tens of thousands of people currently stranded across Greece.  The Hellenic Red Cross is providing a raft of humanitarian support in Diavata and across the country as needs continue to grow. More than 255,000 people have been reached with vital services including medical treatment and psychological support as well as emergency supplies.