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Daily Update (13/09/20)

Covid-19 sidelined and new camp fears

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 (13.09.20):

1. Covid-19 worries sidelined as more pressing medical concerns arise

  • Increasing numbers of people require urgent medical attention and in many cases are not able to receive it.

  • There are reports of a pregnant woman having a miscarriage.

  • Many children and other people have burns and wounds from tear gas canisters which have been left untreated.

  • An anonymous asylum-seeker on the ground reports: ‘Before we were afraid of corona. Now we are not afraid of corona. This is because at the moment we will die because we do not have food, do not have water. So we aren’t scared of corona.’

2. Ongoing protests

  • Massive protests took place again today against the new camp and the idea of living in a closed military space yet again.

  • One of the protests this morning was led by women and children.

  • Signs read lines like ‘Please help Europe’ and ‘we don’t want food, we want freedom.’

3. Basic resources update

  • NGOs are still working together to distribute food. The camp management and army provide the food, but they refuse to distribute it.

  • An NGO worker on the ground reported that ‘it is very difficult, as there are a few thousand people to distribute to.’

  • The new camp does not solve the problems of ex-Moria residents.

  • There are more details below of the camp (see Greek response update) but even those who have been accommodated there report serious problems.

  • At the moment, inside the camp people say they are only receiving food once a day.

4. Ongoing fascist threat

  • People continue to feel threatened by local fascism.

  • Many worrying messages are posted on Facebook threatening the safety of refugees who are still homeless.

Official Greek response 13/09/20:

1. Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi was on site at new Kara Tepe shooting range camp today.

  • He said that by the end of the day there will be 5000 beds ready, and eventually everyone will be placed in this new temporary camp.

  • First priority will be families and vulnerable people.

2. Greek authorities said 12,000 migrants will be moved to the new army-built Kara Tepe camp in the coming days. However the camp only appears to have 200, 6-person tents.

  • There are doubts as to whether the 3 metre fire safety distance between tents has been adhered to

  • It seems that there is little space in the area for more tents.

  • This new temporary camp is already fenced in, and it seems likely it will be a closed camp run by the military.

3. The Greek government says only unaccompanied minors can leave the island despite the fact that many refugees are refusing to move into the new camp and are demanding relocation to other EU countries.

4. The Greek Prime minister says they will rebuild a permanent Reception & Identification centre on Lesvos

European response 13/09/20:

  1. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said the EU would fund a new facility on Lesvos and could be involved in its operation

  2. Switzerland has offered places for 20 unaccompanied minors

  3. Pope Francis expressed solidarity with the migrants of Lesvos and called for them to receive a "human and dignified" welcome wherever they relocate.

Photo Credit: Giorgos Moutafis, Aegean boat report

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