#GREECE: According to the Government sources, at 8am there were 48,795 refugees stranded in Greece, which is 290 less than yesterday. There were 3,924 people stranded on the islands – 1,495 on Lesvos, 857 on Samos, 1,311 on Chios, 66 on Kos, 69 on Rodos and 126 on Kastellorizo.
The Government reports 13,364 in Attica – 1,971 in Schisto, 712 in Eleonas, 1,180 in EllenikoBaseball camp, 1,596 in EllenikoHockey camp, 1,257 at the EllenikoTerminal, 135 in AgiosAndreas, 987 in Malakasa, 398 in Lavrioagrotiki camp, 358 in Lavrioasylum centre and 4,770 in Piraeus.
The same source reports 2,984 people in Central Greece – 908 in Ritsona, 387 in Thermopylae, 191 in Trikala, 390 in Larissa, 1,048 in Koutsochero and 60 in Aerino Finally, the Government reports 28,523 in Northern Greece – 12,000 in Idomeni, 2,253 in Diavata, 329 in Thessaloniki (port), 3,863 in Cherso, 1,250 in EKO-Polykastro, 3,515 in NeaKavala, 214 in Eleftheroupoli, 738 in NeaKarvali, 479 in Drama, 421 in Kozani, 162 in Konitsa, 190 in ParaliaSkotinas, 205 in Kalivia Varikou (Nireas camp), 660 in Filippiada, 207 in Doliana, 1,045 in Katsikas and 992 in Giannitsa.
By: Are You Serious? — Significant free spaces according to official capacity: Lesvos 2,000, Leros 1,000, Kos 930, Elleniko Baseball 120, Ritsona 100, Koutsochero 250, Aerino 140, Diavata 250, Thessaloniki 70, Cherso 140, Nea Kavala 480, Nea Karvali 260, Doliana 190, Katsikas 450.
According to Greek officials, no arrivals were registered during the last 24 hours. There are two possible reasons: very bad weather or enforcement of the EU-Turkey agreement. Nevertheless, people are being deported from Greece to Turkey. 17 Dutch policemen arrived today in order to help with deportation and other procedures. Up to 600 police officers from other EU countries should arrive soon. Together with local police, around 1,500 police officers will be involved in the process. However, Greek government emphasizes that a solution to the situation in #Idomeni, where over 12,000 people are living in horrible conditions, should be the EU’s priority. Greece hopes that the border with Macedonia will open soon, as Greece’s capacities to help are severely limited. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that EU borders will open any time soon.
Greek authorities are still moving refugees from one place to another. During the last night, about 5,000 people slept in #Piraeus, where 87 arrivals are registered today. Four buses with refugees and migrants arrived in camp in #Litochoro near #Katerini. All refugees from the temporary camp #Roka in #Larissa were transfered to #Koutsochero (#Efthimiopoulou). Authorities also moved 247 refugees from #Kozanito #KatsikasIoannina.
Government plans to create 19 new sites, in addition to 48 structures already operating (hotspots+ accommodation centers), to address the needs created by the closure of Idomeni. According to information of the “Ethnos,” already in 11 locations throughout the country work is in progress or have been identified as areas where new camps will be created. Specifically, the areas in which the projects have been launched are #Trikala, #Attica and specifically in #Lavrio, while the camp expands to accommodate an additional 500 persons, #Karditsa, in the old camp site, #Thermopylae, #Oinofyta, in the old factory, #Magnesia, #Petra in Pieria, in the former psychiatric hospital, #LagkaditsaHalkidiki, #Alexandria, the camp 727 and #Volvi, camping in #Stavros. Hotspot at #Kos should be ready by April 15.
Meanwhile, conditions in many camps are very poor. Human Rights Watch issued a new report on March 24, stating how “lack of government involvement, poor organization, and scarce resources, as well as lack of information, anxiety, and fear about the new European Union-Turkey deal, are contributing to insecurity and suffering.” “Pregnant women, people with disabilities, and young children in particular are stuck in limbo without dignity or hope,” said Eva Cossé, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch. “The suffering in Piraeus is a direct consequence of Europe’s failure to respond in a legal and compassionate way to the crisis on its shores.” HRW visited Piraeus in March and concluded that around 5,000 people are sleeping in “squalid, unsanitary, and unsafe conditions in passenger waiting areas, in an old warehouse, in tents outdoors, and even under trucks”. People depend on help, including medical, from volunteers. HRW also concluded how the EU-Turkey action plan “contributed to the volatile situation”.
Help is needed in many locations, including #Kilkis area where group of independent volunteers are helping people in #Cherso-Mazaraki camp. They are not only delivering help, but trying to get to know the people, talk with them. According to available reports, there was 2,180 people in this camp yesterday, of which more than 25 babies and around 900 children under 16 and roughly 950 women. There are no active NGOs, no UN or EASO to apply for relocation. Volunteers present in the field are trying to visit each tent, listing individual needs, preparing boxes for each tent and handing them individually. In the past 5 days they managed to relocate over 50 families (having babies less than 6 months old) into family homes in the area, but since there’s no legal support from the army and other authorities, they’ve been forbidden to do it further in the camp.
Situation in #Chios, #Vial hotspot, is not improving significantly. Volunteers are, for several days already, reporting about police repression towards them. Allegedly, group of activist who were helping refugees, were detained for several hours on Tuesday. This is what one of them wrote after the arrest: “It seems that despite our efforts to bring the public to this place, there is still little to no press and the same small group of activists remaining as there was in the first place. The police can do pretty much anything, and people inside are in danger! They lack food, medicine, the sanitary situation is a catastrophe, there are no information and no access to asylum! And now, the police even try to keep away the only independent people who are monitoring this…” You can find a detailed report on the previous incidents here: https://refugeetrail.wordpress.com/
It is similar at #Mazarákē camp at #Cherso where volunteers are trying to talk with refugees and deliver help in person. “Our goal is to have communication with people who are there. It’s not just numbers… Have names, stories they want to share with us and we want to hear them. We have a name and we want to know. Solidarity does not end nor consists of tails where a man loses his nature, many times and his dignity in the voices and the shoving.”
About 100 refugees, together with activists from Greece, walked from #Diavata camp to the city of Thessaloniki center trying to pop up a camp in Aristortelous square.
There were about 450 present at #Samos today. According to available data, 157 people left for #Piraeus today.
Situation at #Ritsona camp is very bad. People who are there are saying that many things are needed, from volunteers to supplies. In protest, some of the refugees initiated hunger strike over the situation in the camp.
OXFAM and Save the Children are the last two organizations to pull out from #Moria detention camp. OXFAM stated that humanitarian aid “should be delivered in a neutral environment where refugees have freedom of movement”. Let’s hope the stance that’s being taken by most of the NGOs that operated in Moria will bring the EU to its senses and provide the refugees with the protection to which they’re entitled. Save the Children has suspended all activities related to support to basic services at all detention centers on the Greek islands “due to extreme concerns that newly-arrived vulnerable children and their families are in danger of unlawful and unjustified custody for sustained periods of time.” Only volunteers left.
Volunteers at #Idomeni are asking for more help. Helping hands are needed at the warehouse for sorting and distribution. For more see https://www.facebook.com/humaninneedthessaloniki/ warehouse or contact: [email protected] or Dimitra Triantafyllou on facebook.
The weather at Idomeni was bad today, windy and rain. Some people are still protesting. The slogans that predominate are “We love peace, we are not terrorists”, “We condemn terrorist attacks in Belgium”, “Open borders, we are not terrorists”.
#MSF is back at full capacity in Idomeni.
Some refugees in Greece can apply for EU Relocation Program (EASO). Important to know is that one cannot choose to which country will be relocated, and that only some countries in EU do accept refugees, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
School is being set up in #Diavata camp and teachers are needed, as well as volunteers who speak farsi, arabic, urdu, kurdish. “Our mission is to bring hope for the refugee children and distract them from the cruelty of their life situation. There are over 800 young children in the camp. We hope that other permanent refugee camps follow on our steps. Even a small contribution to these children’s upbringing makes a big difference. We noticed a positive change in the behavior of the more aggressive, unmanageable children early on. This shows how much this type daily activity is needed. Please help spread the awareness.
Since yesterday night, police at #Kavala started taking people to the station and investigate them. This morning, police even took an underage boy under their investigation. In general, for the past few days, if refugees made any complaints, police would take their registration papers and threaten they won’t get asylum or relocation. It often happened that the Greek municipality volunteers and the UNHCR would step in to convince police to allow for refugees’ relocation. Refugees started hunger strike today, to push the EU to open borders. They also started the regular demonstrations, but stopped the protest some hours later and pulled off inside of storms outside, but continue hunger strike until Friday. Some refugees claim that that only those who opposed Assad were arrested, but this was not confirmed from any official source. People from the camp say “pro-Assad refugees were telling police whom to take away”, indicating there’s still a strong political divide between the refugees and possibly attempts of manipulating the police by reporting political opponents in the camp.
Yesterday UNHCR finally visited ex-spa hotel in #Thermopylae where near 400 refugees are staying for already 3 weeks. They are in good conditions and good hands there, cared of by local municipality and people in solidarity, but they were just eager of any information.
News That Moves reports that from March 24, refugees in #Tabanovce can voluntarily transfer to the camp #Vinojug in Gevgelija, near the Greek border. To be transferred, refugees need to state to the officials of the Center for Crisis Management in the camp that they want to go Gevgelija, after which they can be transferred there by train. The decision came after the Center personal acknowledged that conditions in Tabanovce are poor. Currently, 933 refugees are in Tabanovce where there are only 100 beds. In Gevgelija, where conditions should be better, there is around 60 refugees, and the capacity is close to 5,000.
News That moves also reports about 237 people who are still waiting between the Serbia and Macedonia hoping that the border will be open soon. If they want, they can enter Macedonia and will be moved to the camp. The border will not, most probably, be open anytime soon.
According to Bulgarian media, 12 refugees were detained (treated as illegal migrants) in Sofia after a short car pursuit with the police. Twelve men claim to be from #Afghanistan, according to the interior ministry’s.
Border policemen discovered the bodies of two men without identity documents near the southeastern town of #MalkoTarnovo, one kilometer away from Turkish border, on Wednesday.
Slovenia is going to contribute with slightly over EUR 5.2m to the EU’s EUR 3bn refugee facility for Turkey, the government announced.
There is 379 refugees and migrants at five different locations in Slovenia now.
Hungary subjected asylum seekers and torture victims to “degrading treatment,” human rights groups are claiming. Cordelia Foundation and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee claim in a report that more than 9,000 asylum seekers were detained between 2013-2015 with poor access to information, medical or psychological care. In some cases, they were “re-traumatised”.
Apparently, the group of asylum seekers in #Kiskunhalas Detention Camp initiated the hunger strike. The information, that is hard to verify, came from the group Welcome to Hungary (W2H). According to the available news, people are refusing food for days, and asking for solidarity from the outside.
According to the #UNHCR, more than 86.7 million children under the age of 7 have spent their entire lives in conflict zones, “putting their brain development at risk”. During the first 7 years of life, a child’s brain has the potential to activate 1,000 brain cells every second. Each one of those cells, known as neurons, has the power to connect to another 10,000 neurons thousands of times per second. Brain connections serve as the building blocks of a child’s future, defining their health, emotional well-being and ability to learn. Children living in conflict are often exposed to extreme trauma, putting them at risk of living in a state of toxic stress, a condition that inhibits brain cell connections — with significant life-long consequences to their cognitive, social and physical development.
PROTEST IN MORIA TODAY AGAINST THE ILLEGAL DETENTION CENTERS
Photo by Better Days for Moria, Xavi Martín, Arnau, Amarouche, Nick Barnets, Beíta, Arno de Foucaucourt.