The fire at Moria camp, Chios; 11/7/2017. Photo: United Rescue Aid

Are You Syrious? — Weekly Digest (10–16/7/2017)

Summarized: this week’s reports about the refugee situation in Greece courtesy of Are you Syrious?.

The big unanswered question

On July 31st, the majority of EU funding provided directly to NGOs will stop. Instead, the money will be allocated to the Greek government to manage all aspects of asylum, migration and and integration. As living conditions on the islands deteriorate, the Greek authorities have not set out a clear plan for the transition.

Seven of the biggest NGOs operating in Greece, who have been running camps and rescue services all around the country for years put out a statement on July 11th. They are asking for better coordination between the EU and Greek authorities. They fear:

“Any gaps in services caused by an uncoordinated transition would impact the health and well-being of thousands of already vulnerable people. It is therefore critical to learn from the lessons of the past years of this response and avoid a foreseeable humanitarian emergency.”

The made special reference to the inadequate places for unaccompanied minors.

The NGOs are: CARE, International Rescue Committee, Médecins du Monde, Médecins Sans Frontières, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, SolidarityNOW.

What is more, the EU Observer reports that funding is likely to be reduced.

The inadequate infrastructure for people with disabilities

Asylum Links reports that although EU funding has been provided to the Greek government, NGOs and the UNHCR with an explicit purpose of providing for refugees with disabilities, camps are still inadequate. There are no ramps, even for toilets.

Who is eligible for asylum?

The European Asylum Support Office updates the list of nationalities eligible for asylum every quarter. As of July 1st, the list includes: Eritrea, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bhutan , Qatar, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Keeping track of needs

Needlist is a platform that allows NGOs to list the items and people they need most. Their search engine will be up and running soon, allowing donors to service specific needs and know where their money is going.

The Situation on Lesvos

  • A protest erupted in Moria camp against living conditions in the facility. The number of people currently staying in Moria exceeds the camp’s capacity by approximately 40%. The residents started clashing with the police.
  • Help Refugees reported: “No injuries have been reported. Well over 1,000 people have now fled the camp. Some of whom are currently being housed in a warehouse on the island.”
The aftermath of the fire. Photo: Photo credit: ‎مهاجر immigrant
  • The local authorities admit that conditions in the camps are unbearable and are pressuring the local community. On July 13th, the mayor of Lesvos sent a letter to the Greek Prime Minister demanding the thousands of asylum-seekers stranded on the island are transferred to the mainland. He underlined the need to speed up the processing of asylum claims.
  • The hunger strike continues for its 16th day. The mayor and police tried to stop the strikers on Monday July 10th. Arash Hampay, an Iranian activists partaking in the strike, said:
“You cannot silence me, stop wasting your time trying. Instead, use your energy to practice justice.”
  • The European Commission promised €6.48 million “to improve reception conditions for refugees in accommodation centers in Lesvos (Kara Tepe) and Chios (Souda).” The money will be allocated to the UNCHR who will then provide services to refugees.
  • Whilst clothes donations are abundant, bureaucracy and bad logistics have asylum-seekers waiting for weeks to get new clothing.
  • Legal Center Lesbos issued a new report stating that the government continues “to indiscriminately detain all asylum seekers after their cases have been rejected on appeal,” against Greek, EU and international law. They also report three attacks in one week by Greek nationals and police against refugees.

The Situation on Samos & Chios

  • Water is scarce in Samos and at Vial camp in Chios. At the former, 1.5litres of water are allowed to each person every day. At Vial, only 3 liters per day are available to a family of four.
  • After a month of quiet beaches, a boat arrived on Chios island on July 12th. Two minors and three adults from Afghanistan were on board.

The Situation in Mainland

  • A 9-floor building was rented by volunteers near Victoria square in Athens to provide accommodation for refugees.
Photo: En Red SOS refugiados
  • The world’s first mobile skate park for refugees was set up in Athens. Free Movement Skateboarding will be teaching children how to skate every day.

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