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Daily Update (16/09/20)

Key points from today (16.09.20):

1. New camp updates

  • Aid workers estimate the new site has about 37 toilets, none of them accessible for those with disabilities, and no showers.

  • According to Kathimerini, so far only 1200 people have moved to the new camp, which is now ready to host 5000

2. Fire Investigation

  • Six young Afghan men, including two 17-year-olds, were to face a prosecutor on today on suspicion of setting fires in Moria

  • 2 were UAMs who had already been evacuated to mainland Greece

  • According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, 4 of those young men have been charged with arson and sent back to the police detention centre to prepare their testimony

3. Basic services update

  • Medical assistance other than that of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been put on hold. Medical volunteers are neither allowed into the new camp nor the restricted area (the roads where most people are "living" at the moment)

  • .Entry into the new camp is only allowed to Greek health care providers.

4. Covid19

  • As of September 15, out of 1,000 people tested 37 cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, including a newborn.

5. Other island updates

  • Fires outside Samos camp were quickly put out last night. Residents helping to put out the fire was initially arrested on suspicion of arson but later released.

  • UNICEF Statement: “We must also not lose sight of the fact that there are still some 430 unaccompanied children still on other Greek islands including Samos and Chios that should also be included in any immediate relocation plans.”

Refugees from Moria White Helmets, clearing rubbish from the KaraTepe road, Photo credit: Moria White Helmets

Official Greek response 16/09/20

  • As of September 15, the government had set up at least 600 tents with plans to erect enough to house all former Moria residents. Meanwhile, opposition from local residents to establishing temporary sites has been intense, with locals setting up roadblocks and demanding the immediate transfer of all people to the mainland.

  • Greek authorities were still struggling on Wednesday to move the thousands of people sleeping in the streets into a temporary camp set up in Kara Tepe, a week after the fire. Local authorities say they are trying hard to convince refugees, who are “reluctant” about the new camp

  • New Democracy party continues defending the creation of closed camps where the “entry and exit would be controlled”

  • Citizens’ Protection Minister, Michalis Chrysochoidis, interviewed by The Guardian, stated that the thousands of people stuck in Lesvos will have left the island by Spring as he “plans to move 6000 people from Lesvos to mainland Greece by Christmas, and the remaining by next Easter”

European response 16/09/20

  • EU Commission State of Union Address 2020 today: “The Commission is now working on a plan for a joint pilot with the Greek authorities for a new camp on Lesvos. We can assist with asylum and return processes and significantly improve the conditions for the refugees. But I want to be clear: if we step up, then I expect all Member States to step up too. Migration is a European challenge and all of Europe must do its part”

  • UNICEF Statement Geneva: “UNICEF stands ready to make sure that the 3,800 affected children remaining on the island can access immediate psychosocial and other support. And very quickly, to make sure that they can learn.” Hopes that the fire may be a trigger to providing better conditions & services which were previously lacking on Lesvos

  • Czech Republic has offered EUR 100 000 as urgent assistance to deal with the fire aftermath

  • Belgium has offered to take 150 vulnerable people from Moria

  • German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer backed up the decision to take in 1,553 refugees from Moria, stating that he is “proud to be the first interior minister of the EU to put forward such a decision”. However, the minister admitted that the total number of asylum seekers Germany would be taking this year will probably not exceed 100,000.

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