Stand By Me Lesvos

Refugees current situation in Kara Tepe II Camp

Unfortunately the Corona Virus is spreading again inside the camp. This is the reason why Stand by me Lesvos intensiefied it’s activities to raise awareness. We printed new flyers in four languages and our partners from Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) distributed them together with masks and sanitizers to all the camp residents.

Here is a a note written by Omid Raihan Alizada from MCAT about the current situation in Kara Tepe II Camp:

“Corona is spreading and it gets from bad to worse! These days we see that Greece is slowing down its Covid restriction, which were in place since a very long time. They are opening up for tourism and shops, restaurants, bars, hotels are also opening. It seems like normal life is getting back after months and months of lockdown. In the same time they are speeding up the Vaccination program everywhere on the island. So, after a long period of lockdown it seems that finally they manage to get the virus under control and this is a very good development. But no one is talking about a space of land called Mevronomi or Kara Tepe, the refugee camp we live in and how are the Covid-conditions there. Or life looks for around 7000 refugees from different nationalities here, while other parts of the island are opening and people are hopeful of getting back to their normal daily routine. Since no one talks about it I will try to explain how it looks like: I am a pharmacist and an aid volunteer, working for the self-organized refugee group Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) since March 2020. Together with 35 other members we try very hard to help improving the conditions inside the camp. So I know what I am talking about, I see the conditions here every day. Unfortunately so many things are again going wrong. More than 110 positive cases who were infected by Covid-19 are isolated. But we believe there are many more refugees infected, we don’t know the exact numbers but it could be hundreds. I see many of them sick and guess the symptoms show in this direction. But they don’t want to test. Why? Because they fear to be isolated, because the isolation zone in the camp is a very bad place people dislike a lot. Since the authorities know this, they are searching for these people and try to force them there. There are several types of things threatening the people here: Covid, to be arrested, bad living condition… while only a few kilometres away in Mytilini everything seems like back to normal life.. There was 0 positive cases in the camp around one month ago and all the Island was under strong lockdown.. People were very happy and hopeful for opening the camp one month ago together with opening the island for tourism and reducing the restrictions.. So we ask: Why it went so wrong? Who brought the virus to the camp? Who didn’t respected the measures? We saw a lot of foreigners from NGOs and others coming to the camp, often not wearing masks and behaving very careless. We warned very strongly, because we always knew if someone bring the virus here, it’s us, the refugees, who will pay the price. And again the situation inside the camp is very tense and people are afraid of what is going to happen next. There are many rumors and you can feel the fear and insecurity. But there are solutions that would help to ease the tension and give people a feeling of security. They could be easily done: Improving conditions here, especially in the isolation zone. Investing in more hygiene and awareness. This would not cost a lot of money. But nothing happens. Again. Recently Elva Johnson from the European Union visited the camp and promised 250 Million. We ask: Where is this money? For what it is spend? It’s the same questions we asked after the fire last year when millions were donated for the new camp. So we ask again: Where is all this money gone? But it’s not too late to change now! And it is important. We all need to deal differently with this crisis here! But they need to change the way they are dealing with the refugees here. Refugees are not enemies but partners in combatting Corona. They shouldn’t be arrested and forced to isolation zones. So we ask again to take the situation here serious and let’s all work together to overcome it so not only all areas on Lesvos outside the camp can enjoy the easing of restrictions but the camp residents too. “

We want to thank Wadi and The Hope project for their support.

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