Crisis timeline

March 2011: Syrian government crackdown on protesters in Syria marks the beginning of the Syrian Civil War

May 2011: Camps for Syrian refugees open in Turkey

March 2012: Lebanon becomes a major destination for Syrian refugees

April 2012: Refugee camps open for Syrians in northern Iraq

June 2012: Large refugee camp opens in Jordan for Syrian Refugees

March 2013: Number of Syrian refugees reaches one million

July 2013: UN notes the Syrian refugee crisis is the largest flow of refugees since Rwandan genocide

September 2013: More than 2 million refugees outside Syria

February 2014: UNICEF reports 10,000 refugee children suffering from acute malnutrition in Lebanon

April 2014: One million refugees in Lebanon alone (20% of population)

June 2014: Islamic State of Iraq and Syrian militants declare ‘caliphate’ in territory in Syria and Iraq; 500,000 Iraqis flee Mosul

July 2014: 3 million refugees in countries neighboring Syria; Europe has only received 100,000

September 2014: ISIS attacks in Syria spark huge influx of refugees to Turkey

July 2015: Hungary begins to erect a fence along its border with Serbia to stop refugees entering EU

August 2015: Due to lack of funds, World Food Programme cuts rations to refugees in Lebanon by half and makes cuts in Jordan

September 2015: Russia begins air strikes in Syria

September 2015: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warns that cuts by international donors is contributing to deteriorating conditions in Lebanon and Jordan

September 2015: Pictures of 3-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan al-Kurdi drowned on a Turkish beach sparks a wave of sympathy for refugees

September 2015: European Commission unveils plan to resettle 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy

October 2015: Almost 10,000 refugees arriving every day in Greece

October 2015: EU relocation scheme begins; the plan is to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other European countries on a quota system

November 2015: Austria begins constructing a fence on its border with Slovenia

November 2015: Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia announce they will only allow people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to cross their borders

December 2015: UK begins air strikes in Syria

December 2015: 3.9 million refugees now registered in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon

December 2015: 1 million refugees reach Europe in 2015

January 2016: More than 230 refugees drown in a month trying to cross from Turkey to Greece

January 2016: EU’s top migration official acknowledges that controversial EU plan to resettle 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU countries has failed as only 272 refugees have so far been relocated

February 2016: Republic of North Macedonia fences off large sections of its border with Greece and blocks refugees’ route north through the Balkans

March 2016: EU-Turkey deal sees refugees who arrive on Greek islands returned to Turkey

March 2016: 53,000 refugees stranded in Greece

We are working with the Anglican Chaplaincy in Greece to support refugees

Following border closures in the Balkans, tens of thousands of refugees are now stranded in Greece with limited options, many with seriously inadequate support.

There is a critical shortage of suitable accommodation, and thousands are living in overcrowded centres and camps where they are vulnerable to smugglers and traffickers.

Asylum seekers on train tracks in Idomeni, Greece



Working with the Diocese in Europe

The Anglican Chaplaincy in Greece, supported by USPG and the Diocese in Europe, is working on the frontline with refugees through a number of partners in Athens and on the Greek Islands.

(The Diocese in Europe asked USPG to be the official agency for Anglican churches in Britain and Ireland to channel donations for its work; and we can receive donations from any country.)

As well as providing emergency assistance to organisations that provide food, warm clothing and medical care, we are supporting programmes aimed at longer term support for refugees living in very difficult conditions in Greece.

At the moment, the Anglican Chaplaincy in Greece has committed to the following initiatives:


Message from the Bishop in Europe:

Suffragan Bishop in Europe David Hamid said: ‘Your generous donations will be put to excellent use. I thank you most sincerely for your generosity, and for your Christian response to this crisis.'


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USPG is supporting a five-year strategy of the Internal Province of West Africa.

The strategy will address investment, governance, communication, post-Ebola reconstruction and livelihoods in Cameroon.


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