In 2015, 856,000 people passed through the Greek islands, and in 2017 and 2018 only just under 30 thousand (according to UNHCR). But 2019 brought already a growth – over 60,000 newcomers. Today, boats coming to Greek beaches are back again, and practice shows that you can get stuck in Lesbos for a good few years. Nikos and Katerina run a small restaurant on the island, where every refugee can feel at home and eat a meal for free.
- There are currently about 7 000 refugees in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos
- At least 2,000 of them are children under the age of 10
- Since the beginning of 2015, nearly 1 million refugees have arrived in Europe via the Greek islands
meals and first aid items
Moria no longer exists. The huge fire that broke out on the night of September 8 completely destroyed Europe’s largest refugee camp. Rebuilding the camp will be close to impossible. Camp residents were forced to flee and spread out across the island, seeking refuge in olive gardens and in the suburbs of Mitilini.
A state of emergency has been announced on Lesbos. On September 9 and 10, by the decision of the authorities, the unsupervised children and teenagers were sent to the continent. There are still around 400 unsupervised children and adolescents waiting to be registered in the camp. The cause of the fire is unknown but all signs point to an act of deliberate arson. Witnesses reported seeing several fires break out at the same time, and flames consumed buildings as well as adjacent olive groves. These accounts were confirmed by camp employees – it seems like the fire was intentional but it is not clear who started it.
There are people everywhere, some of them infected with Covid-19. This is a major crisis. 13,000 people were forced to sleep on the side of the road, in garbage containers or under trees. Many of them children and the elderly without access to water or food.
Home for All has been operating at maximum capacity since the fire. Thank you for supporting us and getting involved. Every day we prepare 3,000 meals and distribute them to those most in need. An already difficult situation is expected to get worse with the arrival of rainfall in two to three weeks. Lesbos is still enjoying summer weather but this will change in a couple of weeks. Provisional shelters will likely be washed away by the downpour, while the cold weather will put people at risk of getting sick. This is why the most needed items, apart from food, are raincoats, according to Katerina.
We are committed to providing help to the most vulnerable in these difficult times but we cannot do it without you. We’re focused on increasing our fundraising efforts to organize a transport. Share this message with your friends and family and help us raise awareness about our activities!
We knew something terrible would eventually happen. Our Facebook posts often implored the public to do something before the camp literally explodes – said Katerina, director of the charity Home for All, which has been providing help to camp residents for five years. Locking tens of thousands of people in an overcrowded space barely fit for 3,000 people, depriving them of their human rights and any hope for ever leaving the camp behind, has been hard to accept by both the migrants and islanders. In a situation like this, if you remove all the safeguards, tragedy is bound to happen.
Our opinions on Europe’s migration policy might differ. But one thing is for sure – if even one child is hungry or suffering, we have to act, feed it and save it’s life
Today we are raising donations for Katerina and Nikosa to support their most challenging work to date. They are providing not just meals, they are also organizing help for the youngest residents – a roof over their heads so that they can sleep far away from the horrific reality of the fire.