FIRE DESTROYS MUCH OF MORIA CAMP, FOLLOWING FOUR YEARS’ EUROPEAN TOLERANCE OF FATAL RISKS TO MIGRANTS – Legal Centre Lesbos

/fire-destroys-much-of-moria-camp-follow

  • Incendie dans le hotspot de Lesbos (septembre 2020)

    12.500 demandeurs d’asile fuient les flammes et errent dans la nuit tandis que le feu pourrait réduire le camp entier en cendres, voir les vidéos sur le site d’efsyn :

    Πύρινη κόλαση στο ΚΥΤ της Μόριας - Εκκενώθηκε ο καταυλισμός

    Στις φλόγες για ακόμα μια φορά ο προσφυγικός καταυλισμός. Επεισόδια μετά την ανακοίνωση των 35 θετικών κρουσμάτων κορονοϊού. Χιλιάδες πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες σε αναζήτηση στέγης.

    Μεγάλες φωτιές καίνε από τα μεσάνυχτα όλο τον προσφυγικό καταυλισμό της Μόριας. Χιλιάδες πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες βρίσκονται αυτή την ώρα άστεγοι, κυριολεκτικά μέσα στους δρόμους.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc-mFZTobB0&feature=emb_logo

    Περίπου 12.500 κόσμος που διέμεναν στη Μόρια εγκατέλειψαν τη δομή και αρχικά κινήθηκαν προς τον οικισμό της Παναγιούδας, ενώ μέρος τους κινήθηκε και προς άλλες κατευθύνσεις. Την ίδια ώρα διμοιρίες ΜΑΤ με κλούβες δημιούργησαν φραγμό στο ύψος του Καρά Τεπέ αποτρέποντας τους από το να μπουν στην πόλη.

    Η Πυροσβεστική Υπηρεσία προς ώρας επιβεβαιώνει ότι δεν υπάρχουν αναφορές για θύματα.

    Πώς ξεκίνησε η φωτιά
    Σύμφωνα με τις πρώτες πληροφορίες, της φωτιάς προηγήθηκαν επεισόδια που ξεκίνησαν γύρω στις έντεκα το βράδυ. Η ένταση προκλήθηκε μετά την ανακοίνωση των 35 θετικών κρουσμάτων κορονοϊού στον καταυλισμό και την άρνηση κάποιων εξ αυτών να μπουν σε καραντίνα.


    https://twitter.com/Eva_Cosse/status/1303471253802582024

    Γρήγορα οι αρνητές της καραντίνας ήρθαν σε σύγκρουση με άλλους που επεσήμαναν το κίνδυνο για όλο το καμπ ενώ ομάδες προσφύγων προσπάθησαν να διαφύγουν μέσα από το ΚΥΤ φοβούμενοι την μετάδοση του ιού.

    Γύρω στις 11.00 έκαναν την εμφάνιση τους οι πρώτες φλόγες περιμετρικά του ΚΥΤ και προς τη πλευρά του Ελαιώνα.

    Γρήγορα η φωτιά πέρασε μέσα στο ΚΥΤ και εκεί ομάδα αιτούντων παρεμπόδισε την Πυροσβεστική Υπηρεσία να εισέλθει. Τότε επενέβησαν τα ΜΑΤ που με τη χρήση δακρυγόνων και κρότου-λάμψης διέλυσαν το συγκεντρωμένο πλήθος, αλλά η φωτιά είχε αρχίσει να καίει όλες τις κρίσιμες εγκαταστάσεις όπως τα γραφεία της Ευρωπαϊκής Υπηρεσίας Ασύλου κ.α

    Φόβοι εκφράζονται και για την νέα δομή υγείας που δώρισε η Ολλανδική κυβέρνηση μιας και οι φλόγες βγήκαν έξω από το ΚΥΤ και κινήθηκαν προς όλες τις κατευθύνσεις.

    Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι την ώρα που ξέσπασε η πυρκαγιά, όλες οι πυροσβεστικές δυνάμεις της Λέσβου ήταν σε απόσταση 70 χιλιομέτρων προσπαθώντας να ελέγξουν το διπλό πύρινο μέτωπο που είχε ξεσπάσει νωρίτερα στην Άντισσα και την Βατούσσα αφήνοντας περί τα δέκα οχήματα στο ΚΥΤ που ήταν αδύνατον να ανταπεξέλθουν.

    https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/258965_pyrini-kolasi-sto-kyt-tis-morias-ekkenothike-o-kataylismos

    #Moria #feu #incendie #hotspot #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #Lesbos #Grèce

    (incendie qui a eu lieu le 9 septembre 2020, je suis en retard sur cet événement, j’essaie de mettre les nouvelles arrivées ensuite, notamment sur la mailing-list Migreurop, dans les prochains jours sur ce fil de discussion)

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les incendies qui ont eu lieu en Grèce dans des camps de réfugiés :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/851143

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • Moria 09/09/20

      OFFICIEL : Lesbos est en état d’urgence depuis 4 mois
      09/09/2020 12:24:00 Société, Lesbos, Immigrants, Incendie, EKTAKTO

      Par arrêté du vice-ministre de la Protection civile et de la gestion des crises, Nikos Hardalia et décision du secrétaire général de la protection civile, Vassilios Papageorgiou, l’unité régionale de Lesbos est déclarée en état d’urgence de la protection civile, pour des raisons de santé publique.

      Cette déclaration est valable à partir d’aujourd’hui 09-09-2020 et pendant quatre (4) mois.

      Les ministres de l’Intérieur T. Theodorikakos, de l’Immigration et de l’Asile N. Mitarakis et le président d’EODY Pan. Arkoumaneas se rend à Lesbos, afin d’être informé de la situation à Moria, comme l’a déclaré le porte-parole du gouvernement St. Petsas, après la fin de la réunion gouvernementale au Palais Maximos.

      Pendant ce temps, des renforts d’Athènes ont été envoyés par la police à Lesbos, afin de faire face au problème qui s’est créé depuis la nuit après les incendies qui se sont déclarés à Moria et ont détruit une très grande partie du KYT. En particulier, trois escouades MAT ont quitté Elefsina à 7 heures du matin sur un avion militaire C-130 et devraient arriver sur l’île à 9 heures.

      Comme il est devenu connu du siège de EL.AS. Il y a déjà des forces fortes sur l’île, cependant tous les étrangers qui étaient dans le KYT après les incendies sont concentrés à l’extérieur de la structure, où ils sont gardés et cherchent des solutions pour leur logement.

      La lumière du jour montre l’ampleur de la destruction du camp - « ville » de 13 000 réfugiés et migrants à Moria. La totalité de la partie extérieure du KYT a été complètement détruite, tandis qu’une grande partie à l’intérieur du camp KYT qui continue de brûler a également été détruite. Les informations indiquent que les infrastructures d’administration et d’identification n’ont pas été incendiées, mais que le service d’asile et son équipement ont été complètement incendiés. En outre, des dommages ont été causés dans la zone de l’unité de soins intensifs et de l’unité de soins intensifs et dans la climatisation de l’unité de santé qui a été faite grâce à un don du gouvernement néerlandais.

      Une grande partie de la population de Moria a fui vers les domaines environnants, tandis qu’une autre partie s’est déplacée vers la ville de Mytilène où à la hauteur de Kara Tepe, juste avant l’usine PPC, une force de police forte a été alignée qui ne leur permet pas d’entrer dans la ville.

      L’incendie s’est déclaré vers minuit, lorsque les réfugiés et les migrants qui avaient été testés positifs pour le coronavirus ou avaient été détectés comme cas de contact ont refusé d’être isolés. Des affrontements se sont ensuivis avec d’autres réfugiés et migrants qui les ont poussés hors du camp. Ce conflit a pris à un moment donné un caractère tribal avec le résultat que des incendies ont éclaté, qui bientôt, en raison du vent fort, ont pris des dimensions.

      Il est à noter que, comme indiqué, les forces des pompiers, arrivées au camp pour tenter, ont été attaquées par des groupes de demandeurs d’asile qui ont entravé leur travail. En ce moment, les pompiers opèrent dans le camp avec le renforcement des moyens aériens, afin d’éteindre complètement le feu puis de contrôler la zone.

      Source : skai.gr

      https://www.lesvospost.com/2020/09/blog-post_50.html

      On craint une propagation du coronavirus dans tout Mytilène si les quelque 12000 réfugiés et immigrants ne sont pas expulsés immédiatement et dans une zone éloignée du tissu urbain après l’incendie qui s’est déclaré peu avant minuit mardi à Moria, exprime le maire de Mytilene S.

      « Les quelque 12 000 réfugiés ne peuvent pas rester un deuxième jour à ce moment-là. Dix ans nous ont laissés seuls sur la question des réfugiés. Les immigrants doivent être expulsés ici et maintenant. "Sinon, il y aura une propagation du virus dans toute la région", a déclaré le maire de Mytilène, Stratis Kytelis, à ethnos.gr.

      12000 réfugiés et migrants restent sur la route nationale

      Les réfugiés et les migrants restent sur la route nationale à la hauteur de Panagouda et se trouve à seulement six kilomètres de Mytilène tandis que les forces de police ont créé un barrage pour les empêcher de s’y déplacer. Trois escouades MAT avec une force totale de 60 personnes sont déjà parties du Pirée à Lesbos les forces de l’île. Il est à noter qu’à partir du contrôle des échantillons de liquide pharyngien reçus les trois jours de jeudi, vendredi et samedi par les équipes d’EODY parmi 1900 résidents de l’hôpital de Moria et 100 employés, un total de 35 cas positifs pour le virus ont été trouvés, au total des réfugiés et autres demandeurs d’asile. . Il est à noter qu’en plus des 35 réfugiés en quarantaine, 100 autres personnes étaient entrées en contact avec eux.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 09.09.2020

    • Moria : “Time bomb” exploded, burned down Hotspot & “European values”


      It was short before Tuesday midnight when fires broke out in several parts in- and outside the Moria camp. The powerful winds quickly spread the flames around, through containers and tents. Total destruction. 13,000 people on the streets. The island of Lesvos has declared in “state of emergency.” Authorities investigate arson. Alarm for the 35 confirmed coronavirus cases that authorities do not know their whereabouts. No reports of fatalities or injuries.

      https://twitter.com/f_grillmeier/status/1303478067348803584

      The worst scenario happened – and while there was a scenario, plans to deal with it equaled to zero.

      https://twitter.com/th1an1/status/1303452650663370752

      A large part of the refugees and asylum seekers fled to the surrounding areas, while another part has moved to the city of Mytilene. However, strong police forces have been lined up in the area of Kara Tepe and do not allow them to enter the city.

      https://twitter.com/veramagalik/status/1303571532992712704

      Others entered the camp in the morning apparently seeking to save some of their belongings.

      https://twitter.com/KallergisK/status/1303554698083995650

      The entire camp outside the camp including thousands of olive trees have been destroyed, also a large part inside the hotspot.

      According to information the administration and identification infrastructures were not burned, but the Asylum Service and its equipment were completely burned.

      Damaged are also the area of ​​the Intensive Care Unit as wells as the new health Care unit recently donated by the Dutch Government.

      According to local media stonisi, that speaks of “uprising and fire“, clashes erupted in the camp after 35 people were confirmed positive to coronavirus on Tuesday. They, their families and their contacts refused to go in isolation in a warehouse just outside the camp. Others started to leave out of fear to contract the virus.

      The clashes “soon led to fires initially around the camp that burned all the tents outside and around the KYT and containers inside,” notes the local news website.

      https://twitter.com/SEENOTRETTUNG/status/1303445925524910086

      Three squads of riot police have been reportedly deployed from Athens to Moria.

      Authorities seek accommodation solutions for the thousands of people.

      Residents of overcrowded Moria camp have been in lockdown for several months due to the coronavirus.

      Chief of Fire Service, Konstantinos Theofilopoulos, told state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday morning, that several fires started around 10:30 at night and that they were initially hindered with thrown stones.

      He added that the fire has been largely extinguished except from the containers that are still burning inside.

      Citing sources of the National Intelligence Service, ERT reported that initially the tents outside the camp were set on fire.

      Quick are the far-right conspiracy theorists who see in the blaze “act of asymmetric warfare” against Greece and blame “Erdogan’s soldiers” for the fire.

      Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisis currently chair an emergency meeting with the ministers of Citizen Protection, Migration Policy and Asylum and Interior, the chiefs of National Intelligence and the General Staff of Armed Forces, and the head of the Civil Protection.

      The vice president of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Promotion of the European way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, expressed the Commission’s intention to assist Greece at all levels.

      EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that she had agreed to fund the immediate transfer and accommodation on the Greek mainland of the 400 unaccompanied migrant children and teenagers.

      PS The fire in Moria burned down not only the camp but also the “European values”…

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/09/09/moria-fire-camp-burned-down-pictures-videos

    • Grèce : un important incendie ravage le camp de Moria, des milliers de personnes à évacuer

      Un énorme incendie a ravagé dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi le camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos. Le site, qui héberge plus de 12 000 personnes, a été « détruit à 99% » selon les pompiers. La tension est à son comble sur l’île : des migrants ont empêché les pompiers de rentrer dans le camp et des membres de l’extrême droite ont « attaqué » les ONG qui tentaient de venir en aide aux exilés.

      Le camp de Moria où s’entassent plus de 12 000 migrants a pris feu dans la nuit du mardi 8 au mercredi 9 septembre. Selon les pompiers, le site a été presque entièrement détruit. « La quasi-totalité du camp est en feu, aussi bien à l’intérieur que les tentes qui se trouvent à l’extérieur dans l’oliveraie », a observé un photographe de l’AFP présent sur place. « Tout brûle », a déclaré sur Twitter une association d’aide aux migrants, Stand by me Lesvos.

      Plusieurs heures après le début de l’incendie, une fumée noire continuait à s’élever au dessus du camp. Le président du syndicat des pompiers de Lesbos, Yorgos Ntinos, a indiqué mercredi matin que le camp « a brûlé à 99% et le feu continue ».

      https://twitter.com/iwatnew/status/1303488090716205056

      Des centaines de demandeurs d’asile fuyaient à pied dans la nuit vers le port de Mytilène mais ont été bloqués par les véhicules des forces de l’ordre, raconte à InfoMigrants Alpha*, un migrant vivant dans un conteneur du camp de Moria. « On n’a pas dormi de la nuit et personne ne nous a donné à manger ou à boire. Il y a beaucoup de femmes et d’enfants », précise-t-il.

      D’autres personnes se sont abritées dans les collines environnant le camp. « Certains témoignages rapportent que des locaux bloquent le passage (des migrants) dans le village voisin », rapporte encore Stand by me Lesvos.

      Le site d’information locale Lesvospost explique que plus de 3 000 tentes, des milliers de conteneurs, des bureaux de l’administration et une clinique au sein du camp ont également été brûlés.

      https://twitter.com/dfherman/status/1303491672685318149

      Pour l’heure, les pompiers précisent qu’"il n’y a pas de victimes, mais quelques blessés légers avec des problèmes respiratoires dus à la fumée". Des rumeurs annonçaient mercredi matin le décès d’au moins cinq personnes - une information que n’a pas pu vérifier InfoMigrants."Je pense que d’autres morts seront à déplorer car Moria est à terre", souffle Alpha.
      État d’urgence déclaré

      La tension est à son comble sur l’île. Les pompiers affirment dans leur communiqué avoir « été empêchés d’entrer dans le camp pour intervenir » par certains groupes de réfugiés, et avoir fait appel aux forces de l’ordre pour pouvoir poursuivre l’opération de secours. Plusieurs associations racontent avoir été « attaquées » par des membres de l’extrême droite alors qu’elles tentaient de venir en aide aux migrants.

      « L’île de Lesbos est déclarée en état d’urgence » a affirmé sur la chaîne de télévision publique ERT, le porte-parole du gouvernement grec, Stelios Petsas. Une réunion gouvernementale, avec le Premier ministre et le chef de l’état-major, doit se tenir mercredi matin « pour examiner la situation à Moria et les mesures qui vont être prises ».

      https://twitter.com/f_grillmeier/status/1303446446734274565

      D’après l’agence de presse grecque ANA, les feux auraient été déclenchés à la suite de la révolte de certains demandeurs d’asile qui devaient être placés en isolement, ayant été testés positifs au coronavirus ou proches d’une personne détectée positive. « Il y a 35 cas positifs et ils doivent être isolés (...) pour empêcher la propagation » du virus, a déclaré Selios Petsas à la chaîne publique TV ERT. Tous les réfugiés du camp ont l’interdiction de quitter l’île, a-t-il ajouté.

      Selon Alpha, « des Afghans ont refusé que des agents procèdent à des tests de coronavirus ». La situation a rapidement dégénéré et « les forces de l’ordre ont lancé des gaz lacrymogènes ». « J’étais dans mon conteneur quand j’ai entendu du bruit à l’extérieur. Je n’ai pas voulu sortir. Mais des flammes ont commencé à entrer dans mon habitation alors je me suis enfui en courant. Le feu était juste à côté de moi, j’ai eu très peur », continue le jeune homme.

      « La zone paie le prix de l’indifférence et de l’abandon », estime sur Facebook Facebook l’association des habitants de Moria et des autres villages environnants qui appelle les autorités à agir rapidement pour trouver une solution pour les demandeurs d’asile qui se retrouvent sans abri.

      La semaine dernière, les autorités ont détecté un premier cas de coronavirus à Moria et ont mis le camp en quarantaine pour quinze jours. Après la réalisation de 2 000 tests de dépistage, 35 personnes ont été détectées positives au Covid-19 à Moria et mises à l’isolement.

      De strictes mesures de circulation ont été imposées dans les camps de migrants depuis la mi-mars. Le gouvernement n’a jamais levé ces restrictions malgré les critiques des ONG de droits de l’homme jugeant ces mesures « discriminatoires » alors que la décision a été prise de déconfiner le pays début mai. « Depuis des mois, on est bloqués à l’intérieur du camp, on ne peut pas en sortir. Cela fait un moment que la tension est palpable, les gens ont en marre d’être privés de leur liberté », dit encore Alpha.

      *Le prénom a été modifié

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27131/grece-un-important-incendie-ravage-le-camp-de-moria-des-milliers-de-pe

    • Après l’incendie de Moria, la Commissaire appelle les autorités grecques à venir en aide à tous les sinistrés

      « Dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi, le feu a détruit en grande partie le centre d’enregistrement et d’identification de Moria et les campements informels qui l’entourent, sur l’île grecque de Lesbos. Cet incendie a considérablement dégradé les conditions de vie des plus de 12 000 demandeurs d’asile et migrants, dont plus de 4 000 enfants, qui sont retenus dans un centre d’une capacité inférieure à 2 800 places », a déclaré la Commissaire.

      « L’intervention rapide des autorités locales et des pompiers a permis d’éviter une tragédie. Toutefois, la situation reste tendue, en ce qui concerne à la fois les migrants et la population locale qui vit à proximité du camp.

      J’appelle les autorités grecques à fournir d’urgence un hébergement à toutes les personnes privées d’#abri à la suite de l’incendie, en veillant à ce qu’elles aient accès à des soins, à des installations sanitaires, à un soutien psychologique et à de la nourriture. Il faudrait accorder une attention particulière aux personnes contaminées par le coronavirus et leur dispenser les soins nécessaires.

      Il importe également que les autorités grecques de tous niveaux protègent les demandeurs d’asile et les migrants contre les agressions et s’abstiennent de tenir des propos qui pourraient attiser les tensions.

      La situation sur les autres îles grecques où sont hébergés des réfugiés, des demandeurs d’asile et des migrants n’est guère différente de celle qui prévaut à Lesbos ; sur ces autres îles aussi, les difficultés pourraient s’aggraver. Comme beaucoup, je ne cesse de répéter qu’une aggravation de la situation semble inévitable si la Grèce et les autres États membres du Conseil de l’Europe ne changent pas de stratégie. Certes, la priorité est actuellement de répondre aux besoins humanitaires des sinistrés, mais l’incendie de Moria montre l’urgence de repenser entièrement la stratégie appliquée ces dernières années, qui a conduit à la création de camps surpeuplés, caractérisés par des conditions de vie inhumaines et intenables, à Moria et sur d’autres îles de la mer Égée. Il n’est tout simplement pas possible d’héberger les demandeurs d’asile et les migrants sur des bateaux, ou de recourir à d’autres formes d’hébergement d’urgence, en attendant que le camp de Moria soit remis en état, puis de continuer comme avant.

      Les autorités grecques n’ont toujours pas réglé une série de problèmes majeurs, comme le cantonnement des demandeurs d’asile et des migrants sur les îles de la mer Égée, le manque de structures d’accueil, sur les îles et sur le continent, et les insuffisances des politiques d’intégration et d’asile. La situation catastrophique dénoncée depuis des années par de nombreuses instances nationales et internationales est cependant aussi imputable à l’attitude des autres États membres, qui n’aident guère la Grèce en matière de relocalisation, et plus largement au manque de solidarité européenne. Ce n’est pas seulement un problème grec, c’est aussi un problème européen.

      Il n’y a plus de temps à perdre. La Grèce a besoin d’une aide concrète et de grande ampleur de la part des autres États membres du Conseil de l’Europe. Si de nombreuses collectivités locales se sont déclarées prêtes à apporter leur contribution, les autorités nationales, en revanche, se montrent trop frileuses. Je me réjouis que certains États membres semblent vouloir intensifier leurs efforts de relocalisation, mais il est urgent qu’ils agissent et que d’autres gouvernements européens suivent cette voie.

      La Grèce et ses partenaires doivent enfin se décider à régler les problèmes structurels d’une politique migratoire qui a déjà causé tant de souffrances inutiles. Attendre encore, c’est prendre le risque que d’autres drames se produisent. »

      https://www.coe.int/fr/web/commissioner/-/commissioner-calls-on-the-greek-authorities-to-provide-adequate-support-to-all-

      #sans-abri #SDF

    • ’Catastrophe’ warning as thousands left homeless by Lesbos refugee camp fire

      NGOs accuse police of blocking access to hospital for families and vulnerable migrants injured in Moria blaze.

      NGOs in Lesbos have warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding on the roads around the still burning Moria camp, where thousands of migrants are allegedly being held by police without shelter or adequate medical help.

      Annie Petros, head coordinator of of the charity Becky’s Bathhouse, said she was blocked by police from taking injured people to hospital as she drove them away from the fire.

      “When we saw there was a fire we drove as fast as we could with water to the camp, intending to take sick people to hospital. I can’t describe properly the scene we saw. There were streams of people, thousands of them, walking away from the camp. They were totally silent, terrified and traumatised, walking through thick smoke and the awful smell of burning plastic,” she said.

      “We picked up some pregnant women who needed urgent help and a teenage boy with a broken leg. When we neared the town of Mytilene there were riot police blocking the way to stop anyone reaching the town. I begged the police but their commander wouldn’t let us through. We called an ambulance and it refused to come to the roadblock.”

      Petros said she was sent along back roads, that brought them into contact with a group of anti-migrant protesters.

      She learned later that some people were attacked.

      She said the people she took to the hospital were the only ones who managed to make it through. “There are many people who need help with burns, with smoke inhalation.”

      Other aid organisations in the area said urgent work was needed to get people shelter before night fell.

      Omar Alshakal, a former refugee and founder of Refugees4Refugees, said: “The situation is out of control. We were looking after minors here and the safe place for them was lost in the fire. We lost 30 children. We are looking for them now.”

      Alshakal said the Greek government was making some effort, but the situation was severe. “We now have 12,000 people with no shelter, homeless on the main road. I have been called just now by the army, they want to get food to people and masks, sanitisation.”

      He said he was concerned that the isolation unit for Covid-19 patients was now abandoned. “We had 19 positive cases all in isolation, now they have left the camp. We have the fear they will spread the virus further.”

      The cause of the fire is unclear. Alshakal believes it was started by refugees in protest at conditions.

      The overcrowded camp is known to be a dangerous space, with small fires being lit to cook and no safe distancing between ramshackle tarpaulins used as tents.

      Moira was opened at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. It was originally intended to hold 3,000 people. The charity MSF has been pushing the Greek authorities to improve conditions at the camp for years.

      Amir, a 19-year-old migrant from Afghanistan who teaches English in the School of Peace in the camp, said: “At about 11 last night I saw people starting fires deliberately. It was refugees who were very, very angry about the situation in this camp. We have been a long time in quarantine, you know we are under a lockdown while there are no such rules or laws for Greek people. It is racist, they are treating people like we are animals. We have needs, but we can’t leave this camp to get medicine or food.”

      He added: “The situation will now be worse for refugees. Our school is completely burned down. We had started to have hope that we could continue our learning but all that is gone now.”

      Aid groups are meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss an urgent response. They want people moved from the roadside immediately.

      Philippa Kempson of the Hope Project, said a government-ordered 3.5-mile (6km) cordon around the camp meant she couldn’t get to her supplies.

      “We have a building full of aid, nappies, water, very near Moria,” she said. “People can’t reach the city, they are out on an exposed road in 32C with children and babies. These people left the camp with what they had. We are 10km away and I had an asthma attack this morning due to the toxic smoke. Everything in there is plastic: the tents, the temporary housing blocks. And fires are still breaking out, the fire helicopter is still overhead.”

      She said the only light in the dark situation was that in two months the camp was due to be completely locked down. “Can you imagine if the fire had started in a couple of months when they had fenced it in with razor wire as they were planning to do? You would have had 12,000 people trapped in an inferno.”

      The UNHCR is working with the authorities to move people to safety. The agency said the authorities have blocked the road to stop uncontrolled movement but that vulnerable groups were being prioritised for shelter across the island and in accommodation in Mytilene, the island’s capital.

      Ylva Johansson, EU commissioner for home affairs, tweeted she had “agreed to finance the immediate transfer and accommodation on the mainland of the remaining 400 unaccompanied children and teenagers. The safety and shelter of all people in Moria is the priority.”

      The police have been approached for comment.


      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/09/catastrophe-warning-as-thousands-left-homeless-by-lesbos-refugee-camp-f

    • FIRE DESTROYS MUCH OF MORIA CAMP, FOLLOWING FOUR YEARS’ EUROPEAN TOLERANCE OF FATAL RISKS TO MIGRANTS

      In the early hours of this morning, a large fire broke out in Moria Refugee Camp, which has left much of the camp destroyed, and many of the approximately 13, 000 residents displaced.

      This comes a week after the first person tested positive for COVID-19 in the camp, which was immediately followed by the government’s official initiation of works to transform Moria refugee camp to a closed controlled centre. In the days that followed, at least 30 other people have tested positive for COVID-19 – in a camp that is currently at four times’ its stated capacity, where basic preventative measures are a practical impossibility and where there was no functioning COVID-19 isolation clinic.

      The dehumanisation of migrants at the European border and apparent indifference to the impact of this protracted, unsustainable situation on the local population have had repeatedly devastating consequences. Migrants have been consistently confined to overcrowded, insecure and fundamentally inhuman conditions, where fires – often fatal – are a regular occurrence. This was not the first fire in Moria camp; it was not even the first fire in the camp this year. Such fatal risks to – and loss of – migrant lives are instead tolerated as part of the European border regime.

      Following the near destruction of Moria Camp, this morning the Greek government placed the island of Lesvos under a four month state of emergency. The police and army have been on the streets around Moria camp since the fire broke out, and three riot police squads (known as the Units for the Reinstatement of Order) were flown in from Athens this morning. As far as we know, no additional medical capacity or humanitarian aid has been mobilised or provided. The government’s immediate dispatch of security forces, before or without humanitarian assistance, continues their policy of framing migrants as a question of public order – and prioritising their securitisation as opposed to the provision of urgent assistance.

      The Greek authorities’ main priority so far seems to be the prevention of migrants’ access to Mytiline: a police blockade was established next to Kara Tepe camp in the early hours of this morning, to prevent migrants who had fled the fire from reaching the city, and it remains there to this point. Police units have also blocked the main access road to Moria camp. People who had been living in the camp are spread out on the roads around Moria camp, in the surrounding forests, and in the car park of a nearby supermarket. From what migrants have told us, there have been no state provisions – whether of essentials such as food or water, or other necessities such as hygiene facilities – in those locations.

      There has never been an evacuation plan for Moria Camp residents, and when the fire broke out last night, people were left to flee on their own – including those who had been held in the pre-removal detention centre inside Moria Camp (PRO.KE.KA.). Some of those living in the sections for vulnerable people (including unaccompanied children and single women) were woken up by police, but given no instruction of where they could or should go. At present, there remains a profound lack of information regarding the safeguarding or protection response for such groups. When we spoke with vulnerable individuals supported by Legal Centre Lesvos in the early hours of this morning, they were scattered in the forests and roads surrounding the camp, without any state support.

      There is still no official confirmation of casualties, or even hospitalisations.

      Those who have returned to Moria camp this morning have sent photos of the destroyed camp, including the remains of their tents and shelters. Residents have emphasised that the many of the facilities – including toilets and sanitation spaces – have been burnt. The already-inadequate provisions to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 among the camp’s population have now been destroyed, and given that over thirty residents of the camp have tested positive for the virus in recent days, a failure to implement a rapid and health-oriented response for displaced residents will no doubt increase the number of cases – and will likely overwhelm the stretched public healthcare system.

      “This fire is a visceral manifestation of European policies, which have for years tolerated the containment of migrants in dangerous, overcrowded and insecure conditions,” said Amelia Cooper, of the Legal Centre Lesvos. “Repeated fatal incidents – including the death of a seven-year-old child in a fire in Moria camp, just six months ago – have not been enough to prompt the evacuation of Moria refugee camp; neither has been the outbreak of a global pandemic, nor the detection of positive cases, nor the Greek government’s instrumentalisation of these facts to impose mass detention on camp residents. Residents of Moria camp, and migrants in hotspots across Europe, are in situations of manufactured and state-sanctioned vulnerability. This fire was not an accident, it was an inevitability.”

      https://legalcentrelesvos.org/2020/09/09/fire-destroys-much-of-moria-camp-following-four-years-european-to

    • Joint statement of 31 NGOs regarding the fire at the Registration and Identification Centre at Moria

      Greece: Transfer Refugees and Asylum seekers to Safety on Mainland

      Respect for Human Rights should Prevail over Use of Force

      Following yesterday’s fire in Moria, on Lesvos, which destroyed the Reception and Identification Centre, 31 civil society organizations call on the Greek Government to immediately provide assistance to people who lost their shelter. Those affected, among them many children and at-risk groups, must be carefully transferred to safety on the mainland.

      The transfer of at-risk groups, including unaccompanied children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, people with medical and mental health conditions, and older people should be prioritized. People who tested positive for Covid-19 should be given safe housing for the quarantine period, healthcare, and hospitalization if necessary.

      Moving people from Lesvos to mainland Greece requires finding urgent solutions to address the fact that many current housing facilities for refugees and asylum seekers are at full capacity. We urge the Greek authorities to work on a coherent plan that maximises all available resources including those from the EU and we renew our call to European leaders to share the responsibility for the reception and support of asylum seekers now more than ever.

      In these difficult times, it is of outmost importance that respect for human rights is at the centre of the response to the fire at Moria, and that authorities do not resort to use of force or inflammatory language, but take appropriate steps to de-escalate any risk of violence.

      ActionAid Hellas

      Amnesty International

      Boat Refugee Foundation

      CRWI Diotima

      ECHO100PLUS

      ELIX

      Equal Rights Beyond Borders

      Fenix - Humanitarian Legal Aid

      Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

      Hellenic League for Human Rights

      Hellenic Platform for Development (Ελληνική Πλατφόρμα για την Ανάπτυξη)

      Help Refugees

      Hias Greece

      HumanRights360

      Humanitarian Legal Aid

      Human Rights Watch

      International Rescue Committee (IRC)

      INTERSOS Hellas

      Legal Centre Lesvos

      Médecins Sans Frontières

      Melissa

      Network for Children’s Rights

      Omnes

      Refugee Legal Support (RLS)

      Refugee Rights Europe (RRE)

      Refugee Support Aegean (RSA)

      Refugee Trauma Initiative

      Solidarity Now

      Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece

      Terre des hommes Hellas

      The HOME Project

      https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1499-joint-statement-of-31-ngos-regarding-moria-refugee-camp-fire

    • New fire breaks out in Moria camp on Wed evening

      A new large fire broke out at the Reception and Identification Center in Moria early Wednesday evening, just hours after the overcrowded hotspot on the island of Lesvos was largely destroyed by the fire the previous night.

      The fire is reportedly burning in the area of ​​Eleonas, the olive grove, outside the camp, where thousands of people of who do fit in live in tents.

      https://twitter.com/g_christides/status/1303744178053165056

      Media report that the fire started in some of the 200 tents that were not burned down on Tuesday night. Explosion sounds were heard, and they probably came form the cooking devices the refugees used.

      https://twitter.com/th_voulgarakis/status/1303738169729441795

      Hundreds of people among them many families with children, were leaving the area.

      https://twitter.com/g_christides/status/1303737094704070657

      Firefighters have rushed to the scene but the blaze went out of control due to the strong winds.

      https://twitter.com/News247gr/status/1303739366179835906

      STAR TV reported from the spot that the firefighters are now trying to protect the nearby forest.

      Thousands left the camp that hosted 12,800 people.

      It remains unclear whether it is a new fire or a resurgence of the one that already destroyed much of the Moria hotspot the other night.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/09/09/moria-new-fire-wednesday-evening

    • All people in Moria camp must be evacuated to safety in wake of destructive fire

      Nearly 12,000 men, women and children have been forced to evacuate Moria refugee camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, after a fire tore through the camp during the night of 8 September. While the fire is not believed to have caused any deaths, the camp was almost completely burned down, and people are now on the streets, with nowhere to stay. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges Greek and EU authorities to immediately evacuate people off the island to safety.

      “Our teams saw the fire spread across Moria and rage all night long. The whole place was engulfed in flames, we saw an exodus of people from a burning hell with no direction,” says Marco Sandrone, MSF field coordinator in Lesbos. “Children were scared, and parents are in shock. We are relieved that there seem to be no victims and we are working now to address the immediate needs of the people.”

      All medical services available for the refugees and asylum seekers have been interrupted, including services at the MSF paediatric clinic.

      Almost five years of trapping people in dire conditions has led to tensions and despair. This has only increased over the last five months due to restricted movements in the camp, hastily justified as a public health measure amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the recent confirmation of positive cases of COVID-19 among the camp’s residents, the increasing restrictions on people have made the situation unbearable.

      MSF has been pushing the Greek health and migration authorities to set up an adequate COVID-19 response plan for Moria, that counts on people’s collaboration and which offers dignity to the sick and to those who are infectious.

      “The Greek authorities have failed to put such a response in place, and the EU and other EU member states have disclaimed responsibility and have done close to nothing to resolve this situation,” says Aurelie Ponthieu, MSF Humanitarian Advisor on Displacement. “The years-long orchestration of human suffering and violence produced by European and Greek migration policies are to blame for the fire, and we can only hope that the same system of inhumane containment will not be reborn from the ashes in Moria.”

      MSF calls on the Greek authorities to immediately adopt an emergency response plan and to evacuate all these people to a safe place on the mainland or to other European countries. We are ready to provide the support that is needed during the emergency response.

      https://www.msf.org/refugees-moria-must-be-evacuated-wake-destructive-fire

      #MSF

    • Incendie à Moria - Evacuer MAINTENANT !

      Incendie à Moria - Evacuer MAINTENANT !

      La nuit dernière, un incendie a détruit le camp de réfugié.e.s surpeuplé de Moria. Près de 13 000 personnes vivaient dans le camp dont la capacité officielle n’est que de 2 757 personnes. Suite à ces incendies, aucune évacuation n’a été organisée. Par ailleurs, il n’y a jamais eu de plan d’évacuation pour l’ensemble du camp malgré les dangers et les conditions inhumaines. Au printemps 2020, l’Europe et la Suisse n’ont pas réussi à réaliser l’évacuation des camps et la redistribution des personnes entre les différents États européens, alors que la situation l’exigeait et malgré les mobilisations.

      Le 2 septembre, une première personne a été testée positive au Covid-19 à Moria. Au lieu d’identifier de manière systématique les possibilités d’infection, le camp entier a été mis en quarantaine. Toutes les personnes ont donc été fortement exposées au risque d’infection. La seule réponse a été leur enfermement aux frontières de l’Europe.

      Le 23 juin 2020, plus de 50 000 personnes ont demandé au Conseil fédéral de participer à des opérations d’accueil humanitaire pour évacuer les camps des îles grecques. Le 16 juin 2020, le Conseil national a approuvé la motion visant à accepter des réfugiés de Grèce et les huit plus grandes villes de Suisse ont accepté d’accueillir des réfugié.e.s directement de Grèce. Nous demandons une nouvelle fois au Conseil fédéral, à Karin Keller-Sutter en tant que cheffe du département du DFJP et au SEM d’accueillir les réfugié.e.s de Grèce et de fournir une aide d’urgence immédiate sur le terrain.

      https://www.sosf.ch/fr/sujets/schengen-europe/informations-articles/incendie-a-moria.html?zur=41

    • Thousands Moria refugees on the streets, locals set blockades, new fires

      The situation on the island of Lesvos remain tense on Thursday, with thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers to have spent the night on roadsides, fields and even cemeteries, waiting for aid and a provisional shelter. Led by the Mayor of Mytilene, locals have set blockades to hinder the government from repairing fire damages in the Moria camp or embark the vulnerable among the homeless on a ferry.

      “People that lost their shelters in #MoriaCamp due to the fires are finding shade and temporary resting ground between graves in a Greek orthodox cemetery.” via @daphnetolis.

      At the same time, new fires broke out in the camp also early Thursday afternoon to burn down what was not damage din the last two days.

      While signs hind to an “arson plan,” so far, no perpetrators have been captured, no report by the Fire Service has been issued.

      The government desperate tries to find solutions to the crisis that has emerged on the island but it is extremely difficult without the support by the local authorities and the people.

      Refugees and locals seem to agree on one point: This is “hell on earth” for both sides.

      The island has been declared a state of emergency for four months.

      New fires show “arson plan”

      Fires broke out again inside the camp early Thursday afternoon. According to state news agency amna, the fire broke οut simultaneously in three different points of the hotspot.

      The fires broke in a camp section that was not damaged by the fires on Tuesday and Wednesday, and where refugees were still living.

      The latest fire shows that despite the fact that the government has deployed several squads of police there, there is not policing in the area, which is an arson crime scene, after all, as the government says.

      According to local media stonisi, “the new fires today now prove the existence of an organized arson plan by unknown centers and for reasons currently unknown. A plan that the Police seems to not be able to deal with.”

      Refugees for a second time

      Over 12,000 people spend the second night on the streets, slept next to garbage bins and police buses. Some found no other place to spend the night other than between graves of a cemetery.

      Helpless without shelter and food, after the fire damage, they grabbed their children, helped their elderly, packed whatever they could save and left again for the Unknown and a new nightmare.

      Tear gas against children

      Riot police does not allow the refugees to reach the island capital Mytiline and set blockades at the road to Kara Tepe, where another camp operates.

      In the early morning hours of Thursday, the crowd threw stones at the police forces that responded with tear gas.

      Among the tear gas target are also children that scream in fear.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYUwNV-0oJw&feature=emb_logo

      Locals set up blockades

      At the same time, residents and members of local authorities are opposing the government’s attempt to repair the damage in the camp and make it available again for the refugees and asylum seekers.

      Local authorities of East Lesvos had repeatedly called for de-congestion of the camp. They belive that the new situation that emerged after the fire will have them relocate to the mainland.

      They reject any government proposals to have the refugees accommodated in two military camps or in the area surrounding the Moria camp.

      Trucks and other machinery deployed by the municipality hinders the cleaning of Moria by the Armed forces, while the mayor reportedly keeps calling on locals to strengthen the blockades.

      Mayor of Mytilene, Stratis Kytelis has been reiterating that he does not accept the reopening of Moria, the establishment creation of any other accommodation structure, even a temporary one.

      He demands “the immediate refugees’ and migrants’ departure from the island in any way.”

      “We have been insisting for a long time that there should be an immediate and massive de-congestion of the camp. It is not possible for a structure designed for 2,800 people to accommodate 12,000 people,” he repeated.

      406 minors relocated to northern Greece

      With three separate flights, 406 unaccompanied refugee children were transferred from the destroyed Moria center to Thessaloniki over night.

      The children are temporary accommodated in hotels. Some of them will be transferred to other structures and some will be relocated to European countries in accordance with the relevant program.

      Before their departure form Lesvos, all minors were tested for Covid-19. For precautionary reasons, they ill stay in quarantine for 10 days. facilities in which they will be housed will be quarantined for 10 days.

      The flights were organized by the International Organization for Migration, funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Special Secretariat for Unaccompanied Minors at the Ministry of Migration.

      Gov’t housing plan about to fail

      The ferry donated by the shipping company Blue Star Ferries for the accommodation of some 1,000 vulnerable groups docked at the port of Sigri and not at the port of Mytilene on Thursday morning. Immediately locals called for a blockade of the road.

      The two Navy landing ships for the temporary accommodation of another 1,000 vulnerable people may never come. The Defense ministry has allegedly refused to deploy them amid a Greek standoff with Turkey.

      The government is in an extreme difficult situation and is looking for other solutions.

      The Migration Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that “all the necessary actions for the immediate housing of vulnerable people and families of the Moria hotspot in specially designed areas will be carried out within the day.”, a migration and asylum ministry announcement said on Thursday.

      “The primary concern of the government is the safety of all concerned,” the announcement added, and concluded that “Behavior aiming to blackmail will not be tolerated.”

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/09/10/moria-greece-refugees-locals-new-fires-housing

    • Incendies à Lesbos : « Nous créons une zone de guerre au milieu de l’Europe »

      #Efi_Latsoudi s’insurge contre le gouvernement grec, la situation dans le camp de Moria étant prévisible selon elle. L’humanitaire appelle à une réaction de la communauté internationale.

      Le camp de Moria, à Lesbos, a été en grande partie détruit par un incendie dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi. Efi Latsoudi, figure de proue de l’aide humanitaire sur l’île et lauréate du prix humanitaire Nansen Refugee Award 2016 du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), craint que la situation des 13 000 candidats à l’asile qui y vivaient se dégrade.
      L’incendie qui ravage Moria était-il prévisible ?

      Il fallait s’y attendre. Politiquement, on se dirigeait vers ça. On opérait sans plan d’action depuis des mois. Le gouvernement grec présente la situation migratoire dans les camps comme une réussite depuis que les chiffres d’arrivées sur les îles sont en baisse. Mais les conditions de vie des migrants sont toujours aussi désastreuses. Elles ne sont que les conséquences des politiques mises en place par Athènes.
      Vous êtes actuellement à Lesbos. Que s’est-il passé hier soir ?

      C’était la guerre. Il y a eu des manifestations de migrants dans le camp en réaction au confinement total, la police a usé de gaz lacrymogène. On s’attendait à de tels mouvements de contestation : voilà six mois que les forces de l’ordre ont enfermé ces gens dans ce camp. C’est de la discrimination ! Pour essayer de protéger les mineurs face aux manifestations, ils ont été placés dans une partie isolée du camp. Et quand le feu s’est déclaré [les causes de l’incendie ne sont pas encore clairement connues, ndlr], personne n’arrivait à les sortir de là. La porte a dû être défoncée pour les évacuer.
      Comment se présente la situation au lendemain du drame ?

      Les migrants sont encerclés par les policiers sur la route qui va de Moria à la ville. Ils sont dehors, sans rien. Les autorités sont en train d’acheminer trois troupes de policiers antiémeutes d’Athènes en bateau. Le ministre a parlé des émeutes, on craint que ces événements le poussent à créer des camps totalement fermés. Il y a aussi beaucoup de réactions de la part des groupes fascistes, qui pensent que Moria est une « bombe sanitaire » [35 cas de Covid-19 ont officiellement été déclarés à Moria, ndlr] alors qu’il y a plus de contaminations au sein de la population locale que chez les migrants. Certains médias enveniment la situation. Nous sommes en train de créer une zone de guerre au milieu de l’Europe.
      Comment imaginez-vous les prochains jours ?

      Tout le monde va envoyer de l’argent et des ressources sans aucune organisation. La situation ne va pas s’améliorer et tout cela ira alimenter la rhétorique des fascistes. Nous ferons au mieux pour aider les migrants. S’il n’y a pas de réaction de la part de la communauté internationale, la population locale et les groupes xénophobes vont nous tomber dessus.

      A lire aussiLesbos, le confinement sans fin

      Le gouvernement ne considère à aucun instant que la situation puisse être le résultat de sa politique. Il a pointé du doigt les ONG internationales : c’est hypocrite. Toute l’organisation des camps comme celui de Moria ne tient que grâce aux humanitaires. Les vrais victimes de ces drames à répétition, ce sont les migrants psychologiquement traumatisés et qui ne se sentent plus humains.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/09/09/incendies-a-lesbos-nous-creons-une-zone-de-guerre-au-milieu-de-l-europe_1

    • Four face criminal charges over Moria blaze, two minors to return to Lesvos

      Four Afghan migrants linked to the catastrophic fires that razed the Moria reception center on Lesvos last week were charged on Wednesday with arson and membership of a criminal organization and given until Saturday to prepare their defense before an investigating magistrate.

      Another two Afghans implicated in the same incident, both unaccompanied minors who were transferred to the mainland the day after the first blaze, are to return to Lesvos where they are to face a magistrate on Monday.

      The six suspects were identified on video footage of the fires that circulated on social media.

      Meanwhile most of the 13 suspects detained in connection with a fire that broke out late on Tuesday near a migrant reception center on Samos have been released due to a lack of evidence linking them to the blaze, which was extinguished before it could affect the camp.

      On Wednesday, 20 officers who are to form part of a special police service on Lesvos for a temporary camp that has been set up there arrived on the island. Although the new camp has the capacity to host up to 8,000 people, only around 1,200 had moved in by Wednesday night.

      Thousands of former Moria residents continued to sleep on the streets and in olive groves on Wednesday.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/257058/article/ekathimerini/news/four-face-criminal-charges-over-moria-blaze-two-minors-to-return-to-le

    • Communique from the Working Group mobilisation on 45th Session of the PPT

      MORIA burns, again. This documented horror in the heart of Europe, has been denounced from its beginning (2015) by dozens of reports from human rights, humanitarian and other non-governmental organisations. Almost 20,000 (at peak last February) and at the time of the fire, 13,000 human beings were parked in a prison of mud, rubbish and violence, behind barbed wire. MORIA is a planned limbo, where refugees are being denied their right to asylum, freedom and dignity, unable to perform even the most basic daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or communicating. It was a place where health care and education were denied to 4,000 children – left without dreams; adolescents whom the abnormal rates of suicide attempts should have been an alert of the level of despair in the camp (MSF); women terrorized by daily rapes, lack of hygiene and rampant violence. Hundreds of testimonies revealing the levels of unbearable “non-life” in MORIA, were kept unheard for years.

      Now the fenced camp, which was about to be closed, has burned to the ground. But how could this construction – the abandonment of human beings reduced to “numbers and bodies” – re-emerge as an island-lager in the heart of 20th Century Europe? How has this apartheid andsuffering as planned management of the “other”, of the “migrant” been accepted and tolerated in the long silence of 5 years? This inhumane “containment” had been erected as a model for migration policies by the European Commission and the EU Member States. MORIA has been the essence of the deterrence model aimed at discouraging the flight of potential asylum seekers from countries at war and to push them back to the ruins, sealed by the EU-Turkey agreement in 2016. It is documented that on Greek islands, the Geneva Convention was being constantly violated on a daily basis. Has it been buried in Lesbos?

      The most disturbing reality of all is that MORIA is not exceptional – but part of a chain of Camps and Hotspots across Europe constructed as sites “without rights” and a systematic planned annihilation of the “other”, psychically destroyed in camps, where they could have even burned alive. The EU borders, as well as the maritime routes have also become sites of death where thousands have drowned. This situation is indicative of the overall policy of necropolitics practiced by the European Union and its member states towards migrant and refugee peoples and is combined with the policy of militarised externalisation of borders. And inside the Fortress Europe – as is graphically shown in this time of COVID-19 – the migrant workers who make up a big part of the “essential workers’ in agriculture, care and domestic work – are also denied fundamental rights, subjected to daily racism and deprived of the conditions to live a decent human life.

      As part of that Europe that still recognizes itself first of all as “human”, and joining all the movements that in these hours are making their voice heard, we, the signatories, who have been witnessing for years the tragic fate of the migrant and refugee peoples, denounce even more the fire of MORIA as a symbolic and highly visible expression of the silent, permanent, planned crime against humanity for which the European Commission the European States are responsible, as highlighted by the Permanent People’s Tribunal sentence (Hearings 2017-2019). The humanitarian interventions of these hours – already minimal in itself – can only appear as a saving face operation. Once again these pronouncements refer to a time without deadlines, and therefore confirm the existing genocidal policy – as the European Commission, and the EU governments, opt for an identity that declares itself exempt from the obligations of the civilization of law. These obligations were meant to be consistent with the ‘never again’ commitment against the extermination camps and had made Europe a place of welcome and an indicator of its own development project.

      We therefore call on the EC and all the European States:

      To urgently evacuate the island and re-locate to safety and dignity the MORIA migrant and refugee peoples.
      To end the criminalisation of migrants and refugees and the criminalisation of solidarity.

      It is Not a Crime to Migrate or to seek Asylum! It is a Human Right!

      September 14, 2020
      The movements & oganisations convening the 45th PPT Migrant & Refugee Session

      https://transnationalmigrantplatform.net/campaigns-advocacy

    • Questions arise as Greece vows to “empty Lesvos of all refugees by Easter”

      Questions arise as Greece’s Citizens Protection Minister has vowed to empty the island of Lesvos of all refugees by Easter.One main question is, of course, that if all 12,000 refugees leave in the next 6 months, why does Greece build a permanent camp on the island, expected to be in operation until 2025 and it looks as if it is going to be “the largest in Greece” if not in the whole European Union? Where will these 12,000 people stay when they leave Lesvos? How about the refugees and asylum-seekers in overcrowded camps on other islands? At the same time, it looks as if the hastily set up temporary camp in Kara Tepe, hastily due to the Moria fires, is violating rules of constructions and other issues.

      In an exclusive interview with UK’s daily The Guardian, Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said following the fires that destroyed the overcrowded Moria camp last week, that plans would be accelerated to decongest the outpost.
      Minister: Lesvos will be empty of all refugees by Easter”

      “They will all leave,” Citizens protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis told UK’s daily the Guardian on Tuesday. “Of the roughly 12,000 refugees here currently, I foresee 6,000 being transferred to the mainland by Christmas and the rest by Easter. The people of this island have gone through a lot. They’ve been very patient.”

      About 70% of asylum seekers on the island were Afghans who would be awarded refugee status and given travel papers, he said. Recognised refugees can move to another EU member state for up to three months using the documents.

      Chrysochoidis, who flew into Lesbos to help oversee relief efforts, welcomed reports that Germany was prepared to take in as many as 1,500 people from Moria.

      “It’s very generous, very brave,” Chrysochoidis said of the goodwill gesture. “All over Europe, countries have their own internal political problems around this issue but I also think they [EU states] can see we are protecting the bloc’s borders, we have greatly minimised flows.”

      On the problem that stranded refugees and asylum-seekers refuse to settle in the new temporary tents camp in Kara Tepe, Chrysochoidis blamed Afghan asylum-seekers and even some NGOs.

      “There are groups of Afghans and I am afraid even some human rights organisations who are encouraging thousands of people not to go in,” said Chrysochoidis.

      “It’s non-negotiable. They will leave the island but they have to go through this new facility and get the requisite legal documents first,” the minister stressed speaking to the Guardian.

      If refugees go, why a permanent refugee camp?

      Of course, in order to have 6,000 refugees relocated to the mainland by Christmas, that is in 3 months, you have to have structures to host them. Where are they? Where are the government plans for them? And where will the remaining 6,000 people go “by Easter”? Most likely, they will also found themselves on the mainland – because so far, the famous “EU solidarity” was never strong enough to take some burden from Greece’s shoulders – and neither will it be, I’m afraid.

      And how about the refugees and asylum-seekers in the overcrowded camps on the islands like Samos and Chios and Kos? Will they be transferred to the new camp on the island where “the people have gone through a lot and have be very patient,” as the Minister said?

      Minister Chrysochoidis and the government is general is proud to have minimized the refugees flows – even though often with questionable means such as “pushbacks” that are illegal.

      So the question that arises is near: If the plan is to have all 12,000 refugees relocated away from Lesvos within the next six months, then why does Greece build a new permanent camp –the largest in the EU! – on the island of Lesvos and thus with the assistance of the European Commission?

      Will the new camp host refugees currently on the other islands and also display Greece’s readiness should an influx turn into a problem again?

      President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday during her speech at the European Palriament speech that “the Commission is now working on a plan, for a joint plan with the Greek authorities for a new camp in Lesvos. We can help with asylum and return procedures and significantly improve conditions for refugees.”

      Permanent camp until 2025

      With two decisions on September 14, the Ministry for Migration and Asylum has secured the amount for the lease of land plots on Lesvos for the permanent camp until 2025.

      According to an exclusive report by local media stonisi, the Ministry uploaded on state website for public expenditures Diavgeia, the amounts needed to be paid for the lease from September 2020 until 31. December 2025. The total price to be paid is 2.9 million euros.

      €142,051 for the lease of the land plots for the operation of the temporary camp in Kara Tepe until 31. December 2020.

      €2,750,000 (550,000 euros per year) for the lease of the same land plots in Kara Tepe from 2021 until 2025.

      According to the exclusive story, the size of the whole area, extending over several hundreds of acres and including the area of ​​the Ministry of National Defense [the firing range where the temporary camp is], shows the new refugee center will be much larger than that of Moria, the largest in Greece and in the whole European Union.”

      The camp will be in direct contact with residential areas and many dozens of businesses, a few hundred meters from the village of Panagiouda, the news website notes.

      Camp set up without necessary approvals

      At he same time, regarding the temporary camp, the Technical Chamber of Northern Aegean region (TEE) denounces “massive arbitrariness” and violations of construction and others laws.

      The Mavrovouni Firing Range (Kara Tepe) for the temporary settlement of refugees and immigrants belong to the Ministry of Defense but not the coastline and the shore lines, the TEE says among others..

      In an announcement, the TEE says that the concession of the area for a camp needed approval by Environmental services, by the Marine Antiquities Authority, the Forest Service and General Staff of the Navy as well as some other departments of the state.

      The TEE raises the issue of the “highest National Security” and of the “defense of the island” that is closed to the Turkish coast.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/09/16/greece-refugees-lesvos-permanent-camp

    • Greece vows to empty Lesbos of all refugees by Easter after fire

      Exclusive: minister says island ‘has been through a lot’ as he welcomes new German offer.

      The island of Lesbos will be emptied of refugees by next Easter, the Greek government has vowed, as it welcomed Germany’s offer to take in 1,500 people left without shelter.

      Following the devastating fires that destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria facility last week, Greece’s top public order official said plans would be accelerated to decongest the outpost.

      “They will all leave,” the civil protection minister, Michalis Chrysochoidis, told the Guardian. “Of the roughly 12,000 refugees here currently, I foresee 6,000 being transferred to the mainland by Christmas and the rest by Easter. The people of this island have gone through a lot. They’ve been very patient.”

      About 70% of asylum seekers on Lesbos were Afghans who would be awarded refugee status and given travel papers, he said. Recognised refugees can move to another EU member state for up to three months using the documents.

      Greek police detained five people on Tuesday in connection with the blazes at the camp, and are searching for one other. No more details were given but from the outset officials have attributed the fires to camp residents pressuring authorities to leave.

      Chrysochoidis, who flew into Lesbos to help oversee relief efforts, welcomed reports that Germany was prepared to take in as many as 1,500 people from Moria.

      The German coalition government on Tuesday agreed to take in a total of 1,553 people from 408 families whose protected status has been confirmed by Greek authorities, Angela Merkel’s spokesperson said.

      Last Friday, Germany said it would take up to 150 out of approximately 400 unaccompanied minors from the camp, where more than 12,000 people were left homeless by the fire in the early hours of 9 September.

      “It’s very generous, very brave,” Chrysochoidis said of the goodwill gesture. “All over Europe, countries have their own internal political problems around this issue but I also think they [EU states] can see we are protecting the bloc’s borders, we have greatly minimised flows.”

      Merkel insisted on Monday any transfer of migrants to Germany would need to go hand-in-hand with a broader European initiative, emphasising her support for Greek plans for a new reception centre on Lesbos.

      Apart from Luxembourg, no other country has so far showed a willingness to partake in a pan-European solution to the crisis in Moria.

      Some countries, such as Austria, have categorically rejected taking in people from the destroyed camp. “If we give in to this pressure now, then we risk making the same mistake we made in 2015,” said chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, referring to Merkel’s decision to take in large numbers of refugees five years ago.

      Germany’s leader faces domestic pressure from two sides on the issue. Members of her own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), have warned that any resettlement programme must be carried out in a way as to avoid chaotic scenes akin to those at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. “We must not go alone,” said CDU delegate Mathias Middelberg.

      From the other side, Merkel faces calls from her coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPD), and a number of federal states and city mayors across Germany for Europe’s largest economy to step up its humanitarian efforts.

      The leadership of the SPD, which will need to approve Merkel and Seehofer’s decision, has pressured its senior coalition to take in more than 5,000 people to alleviate the situation in Greece.

      German calls for resettlement schemes have until now also faced resistance from Greece, where prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, accused some residents of Moria for trying to blackmail his government by deliberately setting the fires that destroyed their camp.

      Chrysochoidis insisted it was crucial Moria’s erstwhile occupants move into a temporary camp, close to Mytilene, the island’s port capital, that the government, with the aid of the army had rushed to build. Opposition is such that seven days after the first blaze, only 1,000 had so far agreed to enter the new facility.

      Athens’ centre-right government has enlisted NGOs and distributed multi-lingual notices in a bid to encourage relocation, saying the new site provides a safe place for asylum seekers to complete applications. Many have denounced the facility as “a new Moria, another prison.”

      As tensions mounted, the Greek migration minister Notis Mitarachi alluded to the possible use of force if the displaced migrants refused to go voluntarily.

      Nine riot police units and water cannon have been dispatched to the island. “If this is not possible through discussion, then the police will have to be used,” he told Mega TV. “It is their obligation to move to the new site,” he said acknowledging for the first time that families would likely spend the winter in tents.

      The Greek government has pledged to build a new structure on the island that will be co-managed by EU agencies but says construction of the camp in a place that has yet to be decided will require at least six months.

      Concerns over Covid-19 – more than 21 asylum seekers since the fires have tested positive for the virus in addition to 35 who were diagnosed with it before – have made resettlement even more pressing.

      Close to 12,500 men, women and children have been living out in the open, often in makeshift tents of tarps and bamboo reeds. Some 406 lone migrant children, also in the camp, were flown to the mainland immediately before continuing on to European states that have agreed to accept them.

      “There are groups of Afghans and I am afraid even some human rights organisations who are encouraging thousands of people not to go in,” said Chrysochoidis, who is seen as the face of the centre-right government’s tough public order policies. “It’s non-negotiable. They will leave the island but they have to go through this new facility and get the requisite legal documents first.”

      Efforts will be launched in the coming days to clear the charred remains of what had once been Europe’s largest refugee camp. Designed to host no more than 3,000, Moria accommodated almost 10 times that number at its height and was regularly condemned by aid groups for its deplorable conditions.

      “It was a camp of shame,” the politician admitted, denying that the government was also forcibly pushing back other refugees who were trying to get to Greece . “Now it belongs to history. It will be cleared up and replaced by olive groves.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/15/after-fire-greece-vows-to-empty-lesbos-of-all-refugees-by-easter

    • Six arrested over Lesvos camp blaze

      Greek police have detained six migrants over a fire that razed the Moria refugee camp to the ground, the government said on Tuesday, as thousands of displaced people refused to move to a new facility and demanded to leave Lesbos island.

      More than 12,000 people, mostly refugees from Afghanistan, Africa and Syria, were left without shelter, proper sanitation or access to food and water after a fire tore through the overcrowded Moria migrant camp last Wednesday.

      Greek authorities believe the fire was deliberately lit by camp occupants after quarantine measures were imposed following the discovery of COVID cases on the site, but the incident has put the migrant issue firmly back on the European agenda.

      Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated a call for more help from the European Union, which has struggled to find a unified approach to the migrant crisis at its borders, saying it was time for “tangible solidarity” from Europe.

      European Council President Charles Michel who visited Lesbos said the challenge was European not just Greek and urged for more commitment by EU members for a new migration policy to be effective.

      “This is difficult, a very complex situation, but on behalf of the European Union, I would want to say that I refuse to paper over this migration challenge. This is a common European challenge,” Michel said.

      Government officials in Berlin said Germany could take in up to 1,500 people stranded by the fire, in addition to 100-150 Berlin has already agreed to take in. But a wider solution has remained elusive.

      Mitsotakis said a permanent new reception facility would be built on Lesbos with EU support and that the notoriously overcrowded and squalid Moria camp “belongs to the past”.

      On the ground in Lesbos, however, thousands, including children, were still sleeping rough a week after the blaze.

      Officials were struggling to overcome resistance from migrants hoping to be allowed to leave the island who fear that life in temporary shelters being erected would be no better than the conditions they endured in Moria.

      Migrants wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus queued outside the camp gates to receive water, food and blankets from aid workers. The task was complicated by the need for COVID-19 tests, with at least 25 positive cases found among the displaced.

      “The big concern is that even though many thousands of places are available and will continue to be expanded, there are still less than 1,000 that have been occupied,” said Luciano Calestini, head of the Greece office of the United Nations childrens organisation UNICEF.

      Only a few hundred migrants, mainly unaccompanied minors, have been moved off Lesbos. Greek officials have said there will be no mass transfers and all asylum seekers will have to go into the new shelter.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/257005/article/ekathimerini/news/six-arrested-over-lesvos-camp-blaze

      #arrestation

    • Reportage : une semaine après l’incendie de Moria, les migrants vivent toujours dans l’enfer de la rue

      Depuis une semaine, les quelque 13 000 personnes qui ont fui les incendies du camp de Moria, sur l’île de Lesbos, dorment à la rue. Au bord de la route de Mytilène, elles n’ont ni eau, ni nourriture, ni couverture.

      Il est environ 15h, le soleil écrase de toutes ses forces le camp qui s’est formé le long de la route qui mène de Moria à Mytilène, sur l’île grecque de Lesbos. Soudainement, des centaines de personnes cessent leurs activités, quittent leur abri et forment, en l’espace de quelques secondes, une queue qui s’étend à perte de vue. Au bout de la file, des bénévoles d’un collectif d’ONG débutent une distribution de nourriture.

      Treize mille repas vont être servis. Il risque de ne pas y en avoir pour tout le monde. « Les distributions n’ont lieu qu’une fois par jour et pour avoir à manger, il faut être costaud. Il y a un problème d’organisation », déplore Michaël, originaire de République démocratique du Congo (RDC).

      Lundi 14 septembre, sur la route de Mytilène, les migrants ont faim depuis près d’une semaine. Lorsque les résidents de Moria ont fui les flammes qui ont dévoré le camp dans la nuit du 8 au 9 septembre et qu’ils ont été bloqués par la police sur cette route, certains ont pu acheter de quoi manger au grand magasin Lidl, en bord de mer.

      Mais les policiers ont rapidement exigé du gérant qu’il tire le rideau. Les stations services ont fermé, elles aussi, ainsi que tous les autres commerces le long de cette route qui mène au centre-ville de Mytilène.

      Pour se nourrir, certains rescapés de Moria demandent à d’autres migrants qui vivent dans Mytilène de leur acheter de la nourriture et de la leur apporter au camp informel qui a vu le jour. D’autres ont réussi à sauver des flammes quelques aliments qu’ils avaient achetés à Moria, souvent des paquets de pâtes.

      Gertrude et Naomi préparent un plat de légumes dans une grande marmite posée sur un feu. Ces deux Congolaises ont tenté quelques fois de récupérer de la nourriture lors des distributions mais être servi relève du combat. « Pour avoir de la nourriture, il faut se bagarrer », affirme Naomi.
      « Aidez-nous ! »

      Assises sur une grande couverture grise flanquée du logo du HCR, deux jeunes Afghanes qui s’appellent toutes les deux Zahra donnent le biberon à leurs bébés de 5 et 7 mois. « On a ramené le lait de Moria », explique l’une d’elles, en brandissant un petit sac en plastique à moitié rempli de lait en poudre.

      Les deux jeunes mères manquent de nourriture et d’eau ainsi que de vêtements pour leurs enfants. C’est ce que dit aussi une autre jeune Afghane en montrant le foulard dans lequel elle a dû emmailloter sa fille de quelques mois. « Aidez-nous ! », supplie-t-elle.

      Le seul point d’eau du camp improvisé se trouve à quelques dizaines de mètres de là et n’a rien d’officiel. Dans une rue qui remonte vers les oliveraies, les tuyaux destinés à l’irrigation ont été percés. Autour de chaque trou, plusieurs personnes se pressent pour remplir des bouteilles vides, laver un vêtement ou se rincer le visage. L’eau ruisselle en permanence dans la petite rue en pente et charrie des ordures.

      Couvertures et sacs de couchage sont également très recherchés sur le camp car les nuits sont déjà fraîches. Michaël n’a que son sweat-shirt bleu pour dormir. Le Congolais guette la route car il a entendu dire que des bénévoles distribuaient quelques sacs de couchage dans le camp. Mais tellement de personnes en manquent qu’il n’y en a sûrement déjà plus. Cependant, « ce qui nous préoccupe le plus c’est de ne pas pouvoir se doucher et aller aux toilettes », explique Michaël.

      Le seul moyen de se laver, c’est d’aller dans la mer. La plage n’est qu’à quelques minutes de marche du parking Lidl. Michaël aimerait aller se laver mais il n’a pas de savon.
      Un tiers d’enfants

      Cet après-midi, des dizaines d’enfants jouent dans la mer. La chaleur étouffante a aussi poussé quelques adultes à se mettre à l’eau.

      Azim shampouine énergiquement la tête de son fils Moustapha, 3 ans, pendant que sa fille Rokhoya rayonne de bonheur en barbotant autour de lui. Après cinq mois de confinement dans le camp de Moria, c’est la première fois qu’ils peuvent approcher la mer.

      Le camp compte plus de 4 000 enfants, selon l’Unicef, soit un tiers des migrants de Lesbos. À la nuit tombée, quand les bruits des machines de chantier qui construisent le camp provisoire sur un terrain militaire en bord de mer se taisent, on n’entend plus que les cris des enfants qui jouent. Le parking du Lidl prend des airs de cour de récréation.

      Les parents s’inquiètent de voir leurs enfants ne pas aller à l’école. La vie dans les conditions indignes du camp de Moria, puis au bord de cette route, pourrait aussi avoir des conséquences psychologiques à long terme sur ces enfants, met en garde Dimitra Chasioti, psychologue pour Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

      L’environnement dans lequel ils ont grandi pourrait affecter « la manière dont ils gèrent les difficultés mais aussi leurs interactions avec les autres », décrit-elle devant la clinique mobile installée par l’ONG à deux pas des tentes.

      Parmi les adultes, c’est l’angoisse de ne pas avoir d’information sur leur avenir – et notamment sur le nouveau camp provisoire en construction - qui est le plus difficile à gérer.

      Dimanche matin, Notis Mitarachi, le ministre grec de la Migration a déclaré que « tous les demandeurs d’asile y seraient transférés ». Selon son ministère, quelque 800 exilés sont désormais logés dans ce camp temporaire, fermé à la presse. L’AFP a recueilli des témoignages de personnes à l’intérieur qui ont affirmé n’avoir ni douche, ni matelas.

      Naomi semble aussi terrifiée à l’idée d’aller dans ce nouveau camp que de rester à la rue. Cette mère d’une fille de 5 ans et d’un garçon de 7 mois interroge : « Comment est le camp là-bas ? Est-ce que nous devrions y aller ? »

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27269/reportage-une-semaine-apres-l-incendie-de-moria-les-migrants-vivent-to

    • Une intervention intéressante sur Lesbos de la présidente de la Commission européenne ainsi que de la chancelière allemande en réponse aux journalistes lors d’une conférence de presse portant initialement sur un sommet UE-Chine...il faut vraiment faire du suivi sur tout pour avoir les informations ! 😉

      La chancelière a eu une parole que je trouve politiquement extrêmement forte en disant la chose suivante : « la #concentration des nombres n’est pas la bonne approche ». Ce qui est remarquable c’est qu’elle a parlé en allemand, et qu’elle a utilisé le mot « #Konzentration » ("Ich glaube, dass die Konzentration auf einer Zahl der falsche Ansatz ist"). Cette phrase porte en elle quelque chose de très fort que Migreurop dénonce depuis sa fondation, l’#encampement, la stratégie des #nasses. Ce genre de #terminologie reste, en allemand, évidemment très délicat vu l’usage du terme par le régime nazi, et je doute fort que l’on puisse imaginer la chancelière d’avoir omis cet élément l’espace d’un instant. Je pencherais plutôt pour une remarque volontaire, appelant les choses par leur nom. Nos ami.es allemand.es sur cette liste auront peut-être une autre lecture, je serais heureuse de les lire à ce sujet.

      Cela n’empêchera, en suite de cette intervention, ni la chancelière, ni la présidente de la Commission européenne, de justifier de la création à venir d’un « #centre_d'accueil_européen » géré par les agences européennes et les autorités grecques en lieu et place des #hotspots actuels en Grèce (un « projet pilote » selon Van der Layen)...Ce qui finalement correspondait au plan initial comme le dénonce Migreurop depuis le départ.

      Vidéo à partir de la minute 25 et 50 secondes (question du journaliste) : prise de parole #Merkel puis #Van_der_Layen. tout est doublé en anglais
      https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/14/watch-live-eu-chiefs-update-on-summit-with-china

      Message de Marie Martin reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 15.09.2020

      #Angela_Merkel

    • For many migrants, the dream of freedom ends in Lesbos

      After the devastating fires in the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos, Muhammad spent days on a sealed-off section of road with thousands of others. His most fervent wish is to leave the island, as DW’s Max Zander reports.

      “We had some hope, but we have lost it. We thought the government would take us to Athens now,” says Muhammad Sator Massi. Muhammad, who is 19, is sitting alone on a curb in the blazing sun, looking down at the ground in resignation.

      Near him, Greek garbage collectors are at work, loading one blue garbage bag after the other onto their truck with a crane. Today, they have started getting rid of the traces left by the past week. The road leading from Lesbos’ capital, Mytilene, past the Moria migrant camp is littered with plastic bottles, packaging and the remnants of temporary shelters. The bushes at the side are full of rubbish. Even though the sea is just a few steps away, there is a terrible stench.

      Muhammad has fled from Afghanistan with his aunt and uncle and their six children. They have already been on Lesbos for nine months. He says that it has been a terrible time that has left deep marks on him. After the fires last week, he set off for the capital with the other camp residents. Police stopped them and sealed off the section of road they were on. Muhammad and his family were among those forced to sleep in the open air, some on cardboard cartons on the bare ground.

      They spent more than a week under these conditions, then the police began clearing the improvised camp bit by bit. This morning, they arrived at Muhammad’s tent. The family was eating at the time, he says. A police officer threw their belongings all over the place and yelled at them, then began demolishing their shelter, Muhammad says.

      Doubtful about conditions in the new camp

      Now there is a new camp, called Kara Tepe. “They are forcing us to go there. We don’t have a choice. I don’t think it will be better than Moria; it will just be a repeat,” says Muhammad.

      Like most people here, he is afraid that the conditions there will be just as unbearable or even more so than in Moria: thousands of people in a confined space without enough toilets and showers, too little to eat, barely any medical care and violence every night.

      A spokesman for the Greek Migration Ministry insists that the conditions in the new camp are good, with toilets, running water and electricity. And he says its capacities are being expanded.

      But people who are already in the camp have reported the opposite, saying that there are far too few toilets, meals just once a day and no mattresses or blankets in the big white tents provided by the UNHCR and the Red Cross. Many are also worried because the camp, set up in haste on a former army drill ground, is likely to be situated on soil full of toxic substances and munitions. While it was being constructed, soldiers with metal detectors could be seen searching the area around the tents. But the Migration Ministry spokesman declares that “everything is safe.”

      For refugees like Muhammad, the biggest problem is the uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to leave the camp later. Greek officials have announced that it is initially to be put under quarantine, after more than 200 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the past few days. After two weeks, residents will be allowed to leave the camp during the day, they say. But that is not certain, and Muhammad and others are worried.

      “We came here looking for protection. We aren’t prisoners. I have been on Lesbos, in Moria, for a year. I can’t bear it any longer,” he says.

      Lost time

      Muhammad slowly gets up, because he wants to go down the road to his aunt’s family and register in the new camp with them. He seems tired and worn out. The road around him is almost deserted. Apart from the Greek garbage collectors, only a few people occasionally come by: a family from Afghanistan laden with plastic bags, a young man from Congo carrying an old, dirty tent. Muhammad sets off in the same direction and walks slowly toward the new camp.

      He is smoking a cigarette. “I never used to do that; I was sporty and kept away from people who smoke. But now it calms me down,” he says.

      He says he has changed a lot in the time here and that he is mentally exhausted. “We are losing a part of our lives here. It doesn’t feel as if we are alive,” he says while going past a police bus.

      In Afghanistan, he was well-off financially, he says. His father is a member of the provincial council in Wardak province and owns a water company. His family had money but no security. One day, Muhammad recounts, he was on his way home from school when he was stopped by some men in a car. They said they were friends of his father and asked him to get in. When he refused, they tried to drag him into the car, but he was able to pull free and run away. “When you go to school, you don’t know if you will come home alive,” he says.

      He decided to flee to Europe with his aunt. But he has given up hopes of starting a new life here, perhaps in Germany. He wanted to learn the language, study medicine and play football, his great passion.

      Rather be deported than be a prisoner

      By now, Muhammad has arrived at the new camp. Next to the road, there are groups, mostly of men, sitting and waiting in the shade of low bushes. For the moment, only families are being allowed to join the queue before the entrance. They are standing tightly packed. The police, equipped with protective clothing and masks, keep at a distance. Each person is registered and given a coronavirus test.

      Muhammad said earlier on that he would rather be deported back to Afghanistan and die there than go to this prison. But now he has no choice. He sees his aunt standing at the front of the queue. Slowly, his head bowed, Muhammad pushes his way past the other families and disappears in the crowd.

      https://www.dw.com/en/for-many-migrants-the-dream-of-freedom-ends-in-lesbos/a-54989158?maca=en-rss_top_news-13961-xml-mrss