Letters from Lesvos 3

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Σάββατο, 11 Απριλίου 2020
Letters from Lesvos 3

Author: Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean, 11 April 2020

23.03.2020-05.04.2020

Monday 23.03.2020

It is the first day of the curfew in Greece. People need a special authorization to leave their houses, and only for a limited number of reasons, including essential work, bank transactions, buying basic supplies, helping someone in need, visiting a doctor, vet or pharmacy, and for physical exercise/pet walk. Violations of the curfew incur a fee of 150 euro imposed by the Police. The above measures are also valid for the residents of Moria and Kara Tepe.

At the same day, the North Aegean regional governor Kostas Moutzouris made a request to the Ministry of Migration and Asylum to install ATMs at the camps in order to avoid overcrowding of the asylum seekers outside the banks on the last days of the month, when the 90 euro cash assistance from UNHCR is normally deposited.

A boat with fifty-six newcomers arrived at the shores of Northern Lesvos and settled there, together with another thirty-five people that arrived the previous week, while twenty-five more people were residing in tents, restricted at the port of Mytilene.

Two more people on the island tested positive to Covid 19 and the concerns around the spread of the virus on the island generally and in Moria particularly gained ground.

Wednesday 25.03.2020

One hundred twenty-one humanitarian organizations, including Amnesty International, MDM, GCR and other NGOs active in the field, published an open letter to Greek and EU leaders, expressing their concerns regarding the situation in Moria, especially in relation to covid-19 and the living and sanitation conditions in the camp. https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1412-protect-the-most-vulnerable-to-ensure-protection-for-everyone-open-letter-of-121-organizations

Friday 27.03.2020

A 20 years old Afghan man died in Moria overdosing on sleeping peels.

The Minister of Migration and Asylum announced the suspension of the UNHCR cash assistance program to asylum seekers and refugees until the installation of ATMs, both at Moria and Kara Tepe camp. This measure does not include asylum seekers and refugees residing in houses under the “ESTIA” accommodation scheme.

Saturday 28.03.2020

The triage and first assessment infirmary for Covid-19 is now operating outside the Moria RIC, under the EODY (National Public Health Organization) administration. In the meantime, most NGOs have totally suspended their operation inside Moria RIC and Kara Tepe and the majority of interventions including legal counselling and Psychosocial follow ups are taking place via telecommunication.  Only medical actors are intensifying their presence, hiring new pandemic expert medics in close collaboration with EODY.

The Minister of Migration and Asylum appointed the new administrator of Moria Camp, a former Brigadier General in the Fire Brigade.

Monday 30.03.2020

A fire broke out at the “Stand by me Lesvos” adult school infrastructures in Moria. The reason couldn’t be identified. There were no victims as all activities had been suspended due to Covid-19 measures and the place was empty. 

The same day, the Municipal Council of West Lesvos refused to identify quarantine areas for the people that will arrive after the 1st of April, as demanded by the government, and proposed the usage of a boat, instead. 

According to the announcement of the local hospital, three more women tested positive to Covid-19 and one died. There are now six incidents in total that raise high concerns as one of them was working at two local health units.

Wednesday 01.04.2020

Thirty-nine people arrived at the shores of Northern Lesvos. Due to the quarantine measures the people will remain at the shore for 14 days. As of today, asylum claims are not suspended any more.

Meanwhile, the fifty-six people that arrived last week have also been residing at the shores of Northern Lesvos, guarded by the coast guard and waiting for the end of their quarantine; at which point, they will be transferred to closed camps on the mainland in order to be deported, as Asylum claims were suspended until March 31st.  This group is residing in poor conditions deprived of basic goods and exposed to bad weather conditions, lack of sanitation facilities and without systematic monitoring of the situation and interventions from humanitarian organizations due to Covid-19 measures.

Thursday 02.04.2020

The first positive test result to Covid-19 was detected in a refugee camp on the mainland, in Ritsona.  As a responce to this incident, the government deployed the new “Agnodiki” (Pure Judgment) emergency plan. According to this plan, a complete lock down was enforced on the camp and its residents. The above governmental operational plan raised concerns and fears that it might be implemented in the overcrowded and inaccessible Moria camp, where adequate quarantine areas have not been identified, nor are operating.

In Lesvos, one-hundred-and-thirty-nine people vulnerable to Covid-19 departed from Mytilene port to open facilities and houses on the mainland.

Sunday 05.04.2020

The detainees in PRO.KE.KA (Pre-removal Detention Center for Aliens) inside Moria RIC started a hunger strike demanding their immediate release in order to avoid the disastrous consequences of a Covid-19 outbreak in the prison.

To be continued…