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#SOSMoria, #Lesvos: Emergency call by European Doctors – “If Europe looks away now, this situation could escalate to become a medical disaster”

March 25, 2020. German NGO Mission Lifeline reported today that there was no water in the Moria camp today. While European governments advice their population to wash their hands again and again to protect themselves for a coronavirus infection, they leave refugees in the overcrowded camps on the Greek islands alone. Several NGO’s and European doctors demand to bring refugees to safety immediately.

Published by Enough 14. Written by Riot Turtle.

Erik Marquard tweeted (Tweet below in German) yesterday: “Today on #Lesvos: Even women in an advanced stage of pregnancy from #Moria are now denied access to doctors. Journalists are being threatened with imprisonment if they do not leave the island by tomorrow. Despite the curfew, racists bully refugees who live on the beach without tents. #LeaveNoOneBehind”

German NGO has a team in Moria right now. Today they reported on their Facebook page:

+++ BREAKING +++

Water supply in Camp #Moria is being turned off little by littler. Scabies has broken out, there is almost no medicine. Less and less people are allowed to leave the camp for a short time. The largest refugee camp in Europe is being left alone.

+++ UPDATE +++
With immediate effect Guards will be withdrawn from #Moria camp at night – unaccompanied minors will no longer be protected!

+++ UPDATE +++
Moria: For children and juveniles, the food supply is now reduced to 1000 kcal/day. Per family the distribution of bottled drinking water is reduced to 9 litres per day – also for families with more than 6 persons.

A little bit later today Mission life line posted a video (below) on their Facebook page, showing that there is no tap water in the Moria camp anymore. Not in the toilets, not in the showers. Nowhere. Mission Lifeline wrote:

Our video from inside Moria proves that there is no running water in the camp. No chance to take precautions for corona! Evacuation now!

Are You Syrious reported today that “Four case of corona infection have been reported from Lesvos in total. The four people are all Greek nationals. Until now the virus has not yet reached the camps.

According to Are You Syrious, “the Health Point Foundation that provides medical care in Moria is looking for doctors and nurses that are already on the island to support the team. Please message for more information.”

Several European doctors are warning for a medical disaster in case of an outbreak of Corona in one of the overcrowded camps on the Greek islands. They are asking doctors to sign a distress call (doctoes can sign the call here). In the call they say:

As doctors in Europe, we call on the leaders of our governments and of the European Union to bring refugees to safety immediately.

In recent years, the refugee camps on the Greek Islands have become overcrowded. The corona pandemic that threatens to overwhelm the camps will have catastrophic consequences for the refugees, the Greek inhabitants and the rest of our European society.

It is an illusion to think that a COVID-19 outbreak in these camps could be kept under control. 40,000 people are living on a few square kilometres. There is only a handful of doctors present. Many children and adults are already ravaged by physical and mental traumas.

If Europe looks away now, this situation could escalate to become a medical disaster and this would represent a serious violation of the norms and values of European healthcare.

It is our duty to prevent this from happening, for the refugees, for the Greek people who have been in limbo for years, and for Europe as a whole.

As doctors, we have sworn an oath promising to provide medical care to all people, irrespective of their personal background. As European doctors, we are obliged to do everything possible to prevent this medical catastrophe.

The leaders of the European Union also made a promise four years ago that each country would take in a fixed number of refugees from Greece and Turkey. Not a single EU country has complied with this agreement. It is not enough to move the refugees to camps on the Greek mainland; these camps are also overcrowded.

We call on all leaders of the EU to comply with this agreement from 2016, and to take refugees into their countries now to prevent a medical disaster on European territory.

​The call was iniated by Dutch doctor Steven van de Vijver that has just returned from his medical mission to Lesvos. Here he describes the situation in a video from March 23:

Legal Centre Lesvos published a call that was signed by several NGO’s:

(Athens, March 24, 2020) – Greece’s government should immediately reduce congestion in the islands’ Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) for asylum seekers and migrants to avert a public health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations said today.

Thousands of people, including older people, those with chronic diseases, children – including very young and unaccompanied children –, pregnant women, new mothers, and people with disabilities, are trapped in dangerously overcrowded, deplorable conditions on the islands amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Forcing asylum seekers to remain in conditions that violate their rights and are harmful to their well-being, health, and dignity cannot be justified on grounds of public health, the organizations said.

International human rights law requires that the health needs of asylum seekers and migrants be addressed and, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, any restrictions on rights for reasons of public health or national emergency be lawful, necessary, and proportionate as well as nondiscriminatory.

On March 17, 2020, Greece’s government announced measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in RICs on the islands, the so-called “hotspots,” that essentially put the camps on lockdown, trapping thousands of asylum seekers and migrants. The measures include suspending all special activities and facilities in the camps, including non-formal schools, while no visitors, including members of aid organizations and agencies providing essential services, will be allowed into the RICs for at least two weeks, the Migration and Asylum Ministry said. Camp residents will be prevented through strict controls from venturing outside the facilities, even to get supplies, but also from circulating within them without good reason.

Continue reading:

Meanwhile the German government speaks about solidarity all the time, during their #StayAtHome mantra sessions. In reality these politicians don’t even know how the word solidarity is written. Although several German states stated that they are willing to receive several thousand refugees from the Greek islands, the German federal government is only willing to take 1600 people from the Greek islands. But although the German government had no problem to act alone when they banned the export of medical protection masks and clothes to Italy and other countries, the federal minister of interior, Horst Seehofer, told journalists that he has to wait for the European Commission before Germany can receive the 1600 refugees. A number which shows that the whole operarion is more a kind of cynical joke, than anything else.

As soon as the situation allows (due to Corona restrictions by several EU governments) the Cars of Hope collective will travel to Greece  again to support refugees. They need your support to continue their work. Read their statement here.

You can support them by Bank transfer or Paypal:

Name of the Bank: Volksbank im Bergischen Land

Account holder: Hopetal e.V.

Description: Cars of Hope

IBAN: DE51 3406 0094 0002 9450 87



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Support the work of the Cars of Hope collective with refugees on the Balkan route.


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