Angelina Jolie Pitt Warmly Greets Syrian Refugees in Greece After Lebanon Speech to 'Reinforce' Humanitarian Efforts
On the heels of her impassioned and poignant speech in Lebanon on Tuesday, Angelina Jolie Pitt has touched down in Greece’s port of Piraeus to further continue refugee aide efforts by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Jolie Pitt, 40, greeted Syrian refugee families outside of the UNHCR office Wednesday, and during her trip will proritize expanding the current protection and assistance to those displaced in Greece, according to a press release from the UNHCR.
“I am here to reinforce efforts by UNHCR and the Greek government to step up the emergency response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation,” Jolie Pitt, a UNHCR special envoy, said in the release. “I look forward to meeting authorities, partners and volunteers working on the ground to improve conditions and ensure the vulnerable are protected.”
In photos and video of her arrival, Jolie Pitt can be seen in the center of a large crowd before stopping to speak to some children.
Since January 2015, almost 85 percent of all refugees and those seeking asylum landed first in Greece before entering other areas of Europe. In the last few weeks alone, over 40,000 people have come to Greece, per the UNHCR.
During her visit, Jolie Pitt will specifically focus on challenges facing Greece’s emergency response systems, and work on stabilizing support systems for vulnerable refugees, including unaccompanied children and single mothers.
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During her Bekaa Valley visit in Lebanon earlier in the week, the actor and director also reunited with a 13-year-old Syrian refugee she befriended during previous visits, enjoying dinner and learning of the family’s journey.
In her speech on Tuesday – the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Civil War – Jolie Pitt called on governments worldwide to do more for refugees as the Syrian crisis drags on.
“There are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in this region, and 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria. On this day, the 5th anniversary of the Syria conflict, that is where I had hoped I would be: in Syria, helping UNHCR with returns, and watching families I have come to know be able to go home,” she said during her speech. “It is tragic and shameful that we seem to be so far from that point.”