Alarming messages from overcrowded camp in Samos // Not enough water, food, space // Dreadful conditions in Samos causing high tensions inside of the camp // New arrests and possible deportation in Moria // Reports about inhumane living conditions for refugees and migrants in Paris and Brussels
For over two years AYS is recording in our daily digests arrivals of people from often war torn countries, or places with high poverty, to Europe. But, the information we received today from different parts of EU are giving the picture like this crisis started only yesterday.
Late this evening, to AYS inbox a message from a refugee who recently arrived at Samos arrived. “Please help us!” he wrote adding that people inside the reception center Vathy — and according to his information it is over 3,200 persons — need urgent help with everything.
They do not have space to live, not enough food, water or anything else.
“There is a lot of children here, too. We really need help,” he told us in a brief communication, adding that only limited number of volunteers are inside the camp and that they are doing everything they can, but the number of people if so big that it is impossible to respond to all the needs.
According to the official numbers, there are 2.508 people in this camp in Samos, where capacity is 700. Boats are coming every day.
Additionally, the person who contacted AYS told us that he is afraid if we use his name since authorities in the camp are threatening to residents if they film or take pictures. Some of them do it anyway showing inhuman living conditions.
This situation, which is expected, causes tensions and there are many fightings inside of the camp, he told us.
A number of people who are sleeping outside the official camp are not possible to establish at this moment, but we published pictures on several occasions warning about the situation.
Recently, even UNHCR noticed this problem noticing that too many people are staying on the islands and that existing conditions “have affected their physical and mental health”, as well as the presence of the threat of violence, self-harm and sexual assault which is, according to this organization, “extremely worrying”.
They also noted that the situation is most critical in Samos. According to UNHCR, among people in the camp, there is over 600 children as well as pregnant women, serious medical cases and people with disabilities. They also said — we do not know how much they have done — that more or less everything is needed.
In the mean time, the European Commission issued its 7th report on EU-Turkey deal praising its success saying that it “continued to play a key role in ensuring that the migration challenge in the Eastern Mediterranean is addressed effectively and jointly by the EU and Turkey.” Once and again we have to ask — Are you serious? Maybe the EU commissioners could try to go to one of the Greek islands, or just go out in the streets of Paris, Brussels, Rome or many other cities in EU and taste for a day how successful their agreements are.
The private sea rescue organization Sea-Eye from Regensburg, Germany, has decided to resume its rescue missions in the Mediterranean after several months of break.
They have two boats — the Sea-Eye and the Seefuchs — and they will operate in an area that is located 70–90 nms off the Libyan coast.
As they wrote in their post, a particular incident on 2nd September contributed to this decision. “The MRCC Rome called the Seefuchs crew to a rescue about 50 nms off the Libyan coast. The crew was able to rescue 16 people on a wooden boat from drowning. This incident shows that the claim by Frontex and the EU that there are no more refugees and therefore no one in distress off the Libyan coast, is untrue. The survivors of 2nd September reported that they started with two full rubber boats. There is no trace of these boats and their passengers until today. We have to assume that they all drowned.”
Like many other, even this organizations warn that the deal between the EU and the Libyan coast guard is, as they describe it, irresponsible.
More people arrived even today to Lesvos, that is also overcrowded. Two boats arrived at the south in the morning, one with13 people on board, including 4 children, and the other with 61 people.
Only in August, there were 1052 new arrivals on Lesvos, while in the first week of September there are around 700 new arrivals.
In the meantime, police at Lesvos continues harassing people. From several sources today, including No Borders Kitchen Lesvos, we got information about hundreds of police officers invading Moria prison camp early in the morning, violently waking up people, and starting controls. Many people, including some who had regular documents, were detained.
“As a consequence, eleven more people have been arrested and now face deportation. Those with papers should eventually be released, back for another restless night of sleep. They do not know when the police will next invade their “home” or harass them in the street, or when their time will finally run out and they will be deported back to the violence and persecution they fled in their home countries.”
Greek media are reporting that the raid was done in order to find people who received final and irrevocable decision not to issue a political asylum, and in order to send them back to Turkey.
More than 350 police officers were involved in the police operation. The operation was done in such a way, with so many police forces, looks more like it has the purpose to spread a fear among residents.
This raid, as well as worsening conditions on the islands, are coming at the same time with another promise from the authorities. This time they say that they are “preparing measures to integrate between 25,000–30,000 asylum seekers who are not entitled to relocation under the existing European Union program”.
Migration minister said that “a three-pronged scheme is under way to integrate newcomers, involving a new registration process and the issuing of tax identification and social security numbers; school enrollment for children; and access to the local labor market.”
Pampiraiki runs the Elliniko warehouse which is the central humanitarian aid hub in Athens, receiving supplies from volunteer-groups abroad and distributing to refugees in camps, self-managed shelters, day centers, private accommodation etc.
They need the following:
• a volunteer coordinator to help manage volunteers
• regular volunteers to help with sorting and distributing aid.
• Drivers and /or persons that have transportation that can help deliveries/pick ups
If you can help, please email email@example.com or call them on +306906408586 (Whatsapp)
An interesting new initiative — Lifeline Teaching by Team Up 2 Teach.
The aim is “to bring together nonformal and formal educators of asylum seekers and refugees across Southeastern Europe to co-create a teaching resource: a book of wisdom, creative experiences, practical tips, innovative lessons and exciting, effective plans for teaching in our very particular challenging settings.”
“We invite teachers and program coordinators (both volunteer and paid) — who want to contribute their insights, experiences, lesson learned and best practices towards creating the book (both print and digital) to help transform the way we approach non-formal education together as a community of NGOs and volunteer organizations.
Space is limited, so please sign up to the event that best fits your location and schedule. We look forward to your contributions and you joining our co-creating team!”
For more details, see their FB page.
No good news from France even today. Volunteers need help to continue helping hundreds of people sleeping out in the open all over the country. And the weather is getting colder.
Calais Action published a call for Paris for blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothes, shoes, and food, but also financial support.
“Every donation no matter how small is welcome. 5 euros means a lot for refugee families in difficulties. If you find it appropriate, would you share it with your friends and encourage them to donate?”
Another small group, Paris Refugee Ground Support, also needs your help. They are every day on the streets of Paris distributing necessities with their van.
“We work with dignity, with passion, and with determination.
We try and remember who needs what and where we will be able to find them the next day. We liaise with other like-minded groups to offer maximum support. The media may have forgotten what is happening but the reality remains desperate. Whatever you can give will go towards making a difference for those with no choice other than to keep on going in this harsh and unjust situation. We can never thank you enough for choosing to support our efforts in Paris.”
This is one of the stories this team recorded in the streets of Paris:
“We noticed an older man, probably late forties. Most of the others are either minors or late teens the to mid twenties. He only had a bed sheet covering him. He was awake so we offered him a blanket. He cheerfully replied, “No, no, I’m fine my dear”. He was lying on a blanket under his sheet and told us he didn’t need it and wanted to give it to someone who did. He pointed to a younger man who had nothing and did this with the warmest jolliest smile and voice. This completely selfless act he did with humility and graciousness. A beautiful human being. A light in the dark. We could all learn a lot from this.”
The situation is not improving in Dunkerque, but volunteers are there to help. They started distributing winter clothes, but people who are there are sleeping in the inadequate shelters and tents, that are totally flooded if it rains. Like yesterday.
To see their updated needs list, please go here.
The same is in rich Belgium. Even in this country, the police is using violence and methods of spearing fear among migrants. This week, forty-four people, including 11 unaccompanied minors, were arrested for questioning, during an extensive police control operation around the Brussels-North railway station. Nineteen of those arrested may have been sent to detention centers.
Germany, that for many people on the move is like a dream country, is changing. Or at least their politicians are sending messages that are everything but not welcoming. One of them is Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere who has called for EU-wide agreement on a number of benefits that refugees receive, saying that what they get in this country is too much.
Previously, the German court ruled that the benefits for refugees can’t be lower than the ones for Germans. An exception is, that they are being denied asylum or protection. Nevertheless, as the local media reports, in an interview published on Saturday, de Maiziere said he wants equal standards for asylum-seeker benefits across the EU, adding that Germany’s current system makes it too attractive to human smugglers.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that Germany has a higher cost of living than other EU countries, but suggested that a more uniform system “could see the creation of possible subsidies for refugees to cover higher living costs on top of an EU agreed-upon benefit sum.”
In Germany, the state provides accommodation, food, toiletries, clothes and “essential personal needs”, such as telephone cards. Depending on which of Germany’s 16 states refugees are living, they may get a monthly allowance in cash. For asylum-seekers living in refugee shelters, single adults receive €135 ($162) a month while married couples receive €129 a month each. Depending on their age, children receive between €76 and €83 a month. If an asylum-seeker is living outside a refugee shelter, a single adult receives €216 euros a month while married couples receive €122 each.
Germans are different than their elected officials and they are showing in many ways that who ever need refuge is welcome in their country.
Preparations are going on for big protests in Berlin on 16th where from a strong message will be sent to fortress Europe while people will raise their voices against the exclusion of refugees and migrants.
The Right to Live movement (Stop Deportation), in protests to current inhumane asylum politics of Finland, together with Architecture for People, a group who believes that everyone should have a right to shelter, are building a transitional shelter for Helsinki Design Week.
“Having a home is a right we all have. Too many are without it even though there are solutions to fix that It’s all about will. And that is what we are missing!”
Officially, almost every third refugee in this country finds the job within three years of coming. Denmark’s minister for employment has called the figures an “incredible development”, local media are reporting.
The ministry bases its figures on those in what is considered ‘normal’ employment — in other words, jobs that are not supplemented by state support. According to Poulsen, one reason for the dramatic increase is a focus on what refugees have to offer Danish society. Researchers are saying that a new approach by municipalities, as well as generally high employment rates, had contributed to the positive figures. However, everybody agrees much more has to be done.
Maybe the first step could be to accept more people. Officially, a number of people arriving at this country are very low. According to the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, it is a record low in Scandinavian countries. This year only approximately 2,000 new asylum seekers have come to Denmark.
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