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First Covid-19 case was confirmed in the crowded Moria refugee camp

Very bad news today. A Somali man who was infected returned to Moria and is now in Mytilini hospital. With far more than 100 cases on Lesvos we were and all are afraid the virus will reach the camp. Now it did and we can only hope it did not spread there.

“They are alarmed at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre following the news that a 40-year-old Somali man had contracted a coronavirus. This refugee had left the K.Y.T. under the prescribed procedures and had gone to Athens and returned – unknown when – alone back to Moria. Authorities are currently in the process of tracing to determine when he returned, where he was staying, what he did to test those who came into contact with him. The patient was taken to Mytilene Hospital where he is being treated.” – Google Translate: https://www.emprosnet.gr/ygeia/me-koronoio-somalos

Our partners in the camp and we were warning for months. We were streaming and shouting, writing and begging: we all knew it will be only a question of time until the first case of Corona will be detected in Moria camp. All our work since March was based on the assumption that Europe understands that these camps have to be dismantled. We were trying to buy time and even helped to manage to keep the virus out in March and April.

Our partners send letters to Europe with very simple demands. But they went unheard. And now today, the first case is detected in Moria while Mytilini hospital is full with patients. No one listens again and we on this island are again standing alone, facing a nightmare coming over us.

Meanwhile, the commitment of our partners in Moria doesn’t stop. Now is even more important to have masks in the camp. So a new factory started and is working every day. This is possible thanks to Solidaritaet International who donated the sewing machines from Germany and many others. We hope it helps to control the spread of Corona in Moria camp.

“With the first case in camp we need to try whatever is possible. This is the new mask factory sewing every day because still so many masks are missing.” – Moria Corona Awareness Team

This is what our partners from Moria White Helmets and Moria Corona Awareness Team wrote in spring:

“This is our second letter to Europe. No answer to first one, even if many media quoted it and we gave a lot of interview to explain ourselves. Please hear us!

Also this one is published by a German newspaper today: “We have sent a call for help and support three weeks ago and unfortunately we never received an answer. We are still waiting, while the conditions here did not change. We ask: Are we not worth getting an answer while so many people talk about Moria and a German minister even called it “Europe’s shame”?

Thankfully in the the Greek Government has relocated some hundreds of the most vulnerable people from here, but some of them were sent to places where the local population strongly rejected them. Even Hotels were set on fire in one place to prevent refugees to stay there. Why Greece, a poor country suffering heavily from the Corona Crisis, is left alone with this problem?

But we are still calling for help. As we said, vulnerable people need to be evacuated from here and we urge you to take action now.

We still only have three hours of water every day, still the health situation is bad and public services are missing. We don’t ask for pity or charity, we just ask for the rights that the Geneva Convention and European Declaration of Human Rights are granting us. We again declare our willingness to help and co-operate as self-organized groups in Moria to solve the most burning issues here.”

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Stand by me Lesvos

We couldn't just stand and watch how the residents in the camp are freezing. We have few things we could do, but what we could we did. During the last two days we closely cooperated with The Hope Project to make available as much warm cklothes, shwals, socks, blankets and shoes as possible. Yesterday the whole day teams from our partners in the camp, MCAT and Moria White Helmets and Acadamia were packing and sorting them and today they were brought to the camp for distribution through the recycling points.

So today hundreds received warm stuff and we really hope it will help them during the next frosty nights.

We know this does not help much, but at least a little bit. It is no alternative to proper structures, heaters and winter shelters but one cannot sit and watch people suffering like this.

See also this video from MCAT: Winter Clothes Distribution

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