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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Dobova, Slovenia
DOBOVA, SLOVENIA (BosNewsLife)– Christians are among record numbers of refugees rushing to Europe despite questions whether the European Union’s pledged assistance can come quickly enough to make a difference as winter sets in.
Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar has even warned that if some immediate and concrete actions on the ground is not delivered within the next few days and weeks the European Union and Europe as a whole will start falling apart.
His tiny nation of some two million has been swamped by more than 60,000 migrants in a matter of days, including here outside the village of Dobova near the Croatian border.
Among them Christian Syrian refugee Baraa Abdulhad, who spent part of her life in the Netherlands and now wants to return with her husband, brother and two children after their home was bombed.
LACK OF FOOD
“I don’t know what will happen to us. We are afraid that our children will die because of the cold and a lack of food,” she told BosNewsLife.
Riot police could be seen throwing only some water bottles from a hill to an anxious crowd. “I already said this is the end. We may never reach The Netherlands,” she said crying.
“We already saw how one baby died in Croatia. I cried out to God and said: ‘I hope that my children will not die’.”
She explained that as a member of the Christian minority in Syria she already experienced difficulties as the Islamic State militants in her words threatened to kill all Christians for not wearing the hijab, a veil that covers the head and chest.
As a teenager Baraa Abdulhad was deported along with her Christian family from the Netherlands by Minister of Immigration and Integration Rita Verdonk, departing having lived there for years and the known dangers faced by devoted Christians in Syria.
“We were basically the only Syrian asylum seekers while all the other [mainly Muslim] Syrians could stay,” she recalled. “But I love the Netherlands, my brother even calls it his country.”
And after more than 20 days of walking and spending at sea on a dangerous boat she has not lost her faith in Christ, she explains.
“I trust God and thank Him,” she said, speaking on a muddy field with a child in her shoulder.
Amid the chaos, many families are separated. Slovenian Red Cross volunteer Mojca Harmandic struggles to reunite them. “We found about 15 families, but that its better than nothing,” she says.
“A lot remain missing. It happens for instance when they cross the border and a wife and kid take the bus the husband continues walking. So many [are] lost,” Harmandic explains.
More family tragedies are expected: Croatian police said Monday that more than 13,000 migrants arrived from Serbia in the past 24 hours, while Slovenian police reported nearly 10,000 arrivals from Croatia in the same period.
Further west, some 3,500 people had to sleep outside in Austria in cold fall weather, while Germany said it had seen 15,000 arrivals in one weekend.
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