In the aftermath of the Moria fire, there are multiple pieces of information being disseminated across social media and news channels regarding the current situation in Lesvos and other Aegean islands.
Many of us at Europe Must Act are receiving very concerning updates which we wish to keep track of and keep others informed about.
We will aim to give a brief summary of these points at the end of each day. Given the fast-changing and unstable nature of this situation, we may not be 100% up to date at all times. If you disagree with something here, or have new information, please use this Google form to report your information. Where possible, we will try to verify all news sources.
Key points from today (12.09.20): Protests, tear gas and limited aid
1. Ongoing protests in the streets near Kara Tepe
Refugees are protesting on the streets near Kara Tepe, asking for evacuation to Athens and access to basic resources.
They are also requesting the reopening of Lidl as access to other shops is blocked - some refugees have the means to purchase food and water, but cannot do so as the police do not allow them to leave the Kara Tepe road.
Confined to this road, refugees rely on donations from a limited number of NGOs on the ground. Refugees from Kara Tepe can also no longer buy food from Lidl and one KT resident reports ‘people are scared inside this camp too’.
A volunteer on the ground reports: “many NGOs are trying to provide additional help” - work which has been made difficult as police are blocking access to the road, “not letting many people help to bring food and supplies”.
2. NGOs working together to distribute food
A group of NGOs are collaborating to distribute food in a few different locations. Today they aimed to distribute at least 25,000 meals.
There are so many people and still very little structure in place. The food line this evening was incredibly long - an eyewitness called it ‘unbelievable’.
The evening food line so far has been calm, with people waiting patiently for their share. However, many people are saying they are not receiving enough food for their whole family.
3. Tear gas fired by riot police in Lidl car park (the temporary shelter of many)
In response to the ongoing peaceful protests held by those who have fled Moria, riot police fired tear gas at people today in Lidl car park.
Families and children are sheltering in this car park. Their safety is being disregarded.
4. Overall lack of basic resources - especially with regard to Covid-19.
Urgent need for more reliable and structured access to water, food, shelter and medical aid.
People are building their own impromptu shelters along the Kara Tepe road and in surrounding cemeteries & yards, creating a new informal camp, as they have not been housed. This will be the fifth night many people spend on the streets.
Few COVID-19 measures are possible due to lack of space & hygiene products. The 35 known Covid cases from Moria are dispersed throughout the streets.
Official Greek response 12/09/20:
1. Hellenic Police are providing refugees with the following information:
A temporary accommodation area with tents, running water, and supplies has been created.
Mass relocation out of the island due to the fire is not going to happen.
Refugees are told not to believe rumors and information unless directly from Ministry of Migration & Asylum, and Hellenic Police. They are also asked to stay calm and cooperative.
2. Greek army is building a temporary tented camp for 3,000 people near Kara Tepe
Various photos have been circulated of the new camp. Many refugees are dubbing it the ‘new hell’.
3. Mayor of Mytilene, Stratis Kytelis has made a statement opposing the creation of a new camp on Lesvos.
Locals, far right groups & many refugees oppose creation of a new closed camp on Lesvos as proposed by Greek Prime Minister.
European response 12/09/20:
MEPs to urge Commission to address the humanitarian crisis on Lesvos. Debate to take place on Thursday morning
After visiting the area, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas has announced that the Moria camp will be replaced by a modern facility at the same location
A group of charities and NGOs including MSF and Amnesty International have written an open letter to the German government saying more has to be done for all of the migrants, not just minors
Mass demonstrations planned across major European cities on Sunday as protestors aim to persuade their governments to take more people from the Aegean camps