Social Crisis in Greece Gets Worse, Austrian NGO says

The Greek crisis from a social and humanitarian point of view is getting worse, especially in the capital, according to Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung.

The report is based on testimonies by Erwin Schrümpf, an Austrian citizen who is the founder of the Griechenlandhilfe (Help Greece) non-governmental organization.

Schrümpf has been volunteering in Greece since 2012, helping the unemployed, the sick, poor mothers and children. What urged him to take action in Greece was a German documentary on General Hospital “Elpis” in Athens and the shocking images of a collapsing health system.

“I thought … How is it possible? To have a situation like this in the 21st century,” Schrümpf told the newspaper. Since then he has founded Griechenlandhilfe that now comprises 40 volunteers, including medical doctors, who every so often drive to the center of Athens and offer medical help and pharmaceuticals to those in need.

As years go by the demand increases for medical help increases, the Wiener Zeitung report says. “Intravenous infusion needles, bandages, medicines and baby food are still in demand. Although in 2013 there were 17 tons of medical supplies given to Greece, in 2015 the supplies amounted to 100 tons. Even ambulances were donated to the troubled emergency services,” the report notes, pointing out that a large percentage of Greeks are unable to even pay for necessary medication.

In 2015, volunteers provided 8,547 hours of voluntary work. “This year the trend is upward. The demand remains high in Greece.” Schrümpf is categorical: “The situation is increasingly worse.”

The newspaper reports that Austrian NGOs are now active in dozens of local assistance programs not only in Athens but also in Patras, Lesvos and elsewhere. According to reports, not only uninsured citizens need help but now the volunteers come to the aid of many insured Greeks who can hardly get by.