Report from KOS, LEROS and LESVOS

There are approximately 1300 individuals in the hotspot on KOS which has a capacity of 1250. There are around 120 to 140 prisoners in the pre-departure center, half of whom are Pakistani and the rest are Arab-speaking (Algeria, Iraq, etc). The pre-departure center hosts another 140 more individuals from the hotspot -non-prisoners which are left over from the hotspot in another wing, who after 25 days, after which they obtain the so-called release paper from the police, can come and go freely from the predeparture center. In the pre-departure center: the behavior of the police- which ranges from tolerant to very good- makes living more human. The prisoners are out from the morning until 10pm. Thankfully, the disgrace of the two-hour outing in the yard has ended. Telephones without cameras are allowed. Whoever has one, keeps it on his person. Inside the hotspot, there are active organisations: IOM which is a program for those who willingly wish to return to their home country, the KEELPNO which is a center for the examination and prevention of illnesses, which also has psychosocial services which enable a swifter incorporation into vulnerable groups. There is a joint effort with the UNHCR which endeavors to promote the vulnerable groups to Athens. There is an American NGO by the name of SAMS for medical assistance with a total of three doctors. Recently, the German NGO Flying Help has resumed action in Kos. Despite all of these, the situation in Kos continues to be crucial because there are tremendous deficiencies in basic needs, mainly for babies and small children and for individuals with motor disabilities and/or health problems. For example: There is no baby cereals, cream for diaper rash, bottles and in general the necessities for a baby or a child. There is a ten-year-old quadroplegic child who needs soups and baby cereals, diapers and mattress lining. In general, things are calmer in the sense that the water is not shut down that often, etc and the catering service is bearable. The problem focuses mainly on the number, there are many and the capacity is limited. Furthermore there is insufficient response from the First Welcome. To a point where the policemen, discreetly raised money amongst themselves, to buy baby formula. In reference to legal coverage in the hotspot, there is only one lawyer of Metadrasi from the Greek Council for Refugees, for everyone!

In the hotspot of LEROS, there are 827 individuals. They are cramped but all living in containers. In the PIKPA, which is a free hosting structure and formally belongs to the First Welcome but is basically run by solidarity volunteers from our network, along with the Villa Artemis which is a structure run by our network, there are 91 refugees, mainly Kurds from Iraq and Syria. In the homes run by the UNHCR, there are 66 refugees. The situation in the PIKPA and the Villa are quite good. Two NGOs are active on Leros, Save the Children and Echo100plus. All needs for milk, diapers, clothes,etc are covered. There is also a doctor in the hotspot and a psychosocial team in the PIKPA. There is a gap in the legal assistance, because the ministry was supposed to cover that. For the time being, there is only one lawyer from Metadrasi in the hotspot and everyone mostly goes to private lawyers for their appeals.

The hotspot Moria on LESVOS is more than twice over its capacity. It’s hosting now more than 5500 people despite a capacity of 2330. Only yesterday Lesvos had 139 new arrivals. In total Lesvos hosts now more than 7000 refugees. Many people in Moria, including families with small children, have to sleep in summer tents. For 14 days now refugees have been protesting against these conditions, the traveling restrictions and for opening the islands. Today is the 13th day of their occupation of the central saphous square in Mytilini and the seventh day of the hunger strike of four men. Five protesting women and girls also joined for the hungerstrike yesterday.


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