AYS DAILY DIGEST 01/12: The strongest have been broken

Temperatures in Greece remain low. While authorities are still not able to provide adequate shelter to everyone, people are suffering under the cold. Kelebija Community Center has been shut down temporarily. In Aleppo the joy died as the last clown, Anas al-Basha, was killed during airstrikes. Eventhough the administrative court in Austria halted deportations the government wants to continue them — and in some cases the court is fine with it. Help still needed in Paris and Hungary.

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Credits: Loïs Simac / InterVolve

Greece

UNHCR announced that the refugees will be moved from tents to indoor rooms. While there have almost been not sufficient efforts made to winterize the camps before, it needed the first snow in Petra camp (as reported in yesterday’s digest) and temperatures below zero in other locations to prepare this steps. But as of today a lot of camps are still in use and the refugees have to resist freezing temperatures. Neither UNHCR nor the government gave a timeframe until the refugees will be accommedated in heated shelters. Most of the containers remain fridges, because there is no electricity and no other heating provided till now.

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Credits: refugees.tv

At least the protection seekers from Petra camp have been moved from Mount Olympus to other facilities. The residents of Softex haven’t been that lucky. The camp in and around an abandoned factory building is infamous for its bad conditions, as the temperatures drop it’s getting even worse. “There are families living in a dilapidated concrete warehouse building burning anything they can to keep warm. Temperatures are below freezing and it is snowing. The brightest of smiles have faded. The strongest of people have been broken,” the volunteers of InterVolve said. They are still trying their best to support the people onsite. In other camps it’s also up to volunteers to floor tents until the relocation of the residents is done. Further there are volunteer reports about numerous squats in Athens also being unheated.

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Credits: The Get The Shit Done Team

Under these winter conditions a smuggler left about 70 refugees alone in a forest nearby Thessaloniki, The National Herald reports. Police picked them up.

On the islands the situation isn’t much better. Wind, cold and unworthy conditions are the keywords to describe the everyday life of protection seekers fleeing from war, terror and poverty. Camping tents are just blown away by strong winds and with them the only shelter for a lot of refugees. After Greece has received hundreds of million Euros the government and big NGOs are still failing to accommodate and to take care of the protection seekers at minium standards.

The Mobile Info Team informs, that relocation for Iraqi refugees is still eligible, when the arrived before the 20th of March and pre-registered before 16th of June.

Following the deadly accident in Moria camp on Lesvos, when a gas canister exploded, News that moves is collecting information for fire safety provided by UNHCR. If you are working with refugees using gas, please forward them the information. It can save lifes. Volunteers report, that the two year old boy has a surgery tomorrow as well as his mother.

Serbia

It was rumored for several weeks now, that Serbian authorities are looking to crack down on some spots they deem obnoxious. The first victim now was the Kelebija Community Center, which provided some safe space as well as social life and activities for the residents in the transit zone. Further they covered some basic needs. Are you Syrious? participated with tents for a women and children space. For now KCC has to remain closed, until the responsible NGO, NorthStar, takes some bureaucratic hurdles. But they are looking to reopen soon.

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Credits: Aleksandar Nastevski

Syria

Anas al-Basha was the man, probably the last one, who brought joy to Aleppo. Dressed as a clown he made children smile in times, when smiling was impossible. With his coloured, funny appearance he brought happiness to a dark and grey place, where every hope was lost. Because he didn’t have any social media account, he was not famous online. But in Aleppo a lot of people knew him. During bombings on tuesday al-Basha died and with him maybe the last joy.

According to Human Rights Watch in September and October the “Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian civil monitoring organization, documented the bombing campaign [by the Russian-Syrian coalition] has killed more than 440 civilians, including more than 90 children.”

Austria

Even after the Austrian Federal Administrative Court suspended deportations to Croatia until the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) makes a final decision, Austrian government still intend to continue deportations, ORF reports. They say, that it is not a “general” but a “differentiated” deportation. The ones who are being deported did obviously enter Austria illegally, they say. The cases, in which transports have been organized by governments in 2015, have to be investigated.

According to the Austrian Ministry of Interior 300 refugees have been sent back to Croatia in October. There are about 2000 cases open.

Meanwhile Hans Peter Lehofer, spokesman of the administrative court, explained, the case can not be continued as long as ECtHR hasn’t decided on it. But “classical illegal border crossing” like “at night through the forest” could still lead to deportations to the country of the first arrival.

France

By 24th of November the new reception center for refugees in Paris had already welcomed 1,253 people, Reuters reports. The centre offers 400 beds for up to ten days to refugees and costs 6.5 million Euros. “In just 18 months, from June 2015 to November 2016, thirty makeshift camps have been cleared in Paris, with authorities providing emergency shelter for 22,000 migrants”, according to a townhall spokesman.

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Credits: Paris Refugee Ground Support

Volunteer reports say, there are still several hundred people sleeping roughly in the streets while temperatures are dropping sub zero. Donations and volunteers for distribution are urgently needed.

If you are going to donate the very need items in the following list to the Paris volunteers, please bring your donation to the Calais warehouses, because of the lack of a warehouse in Paris. These items will be redirected later to Paris properly.

- Tents, Sleeping bags, roll mats and blankets
- Thermal underwear vests and long johns and socks
- Mens small to medium underwear
- Mens small to medium Warm Winter clothes
- Winter boots and shoes, sizes 39 to 46 (especially 42 and 43)
- GLOVES, hats and scarves
- Emergency space/heat blankets and sleeping bags
- Hand warmers
- Mini torches

Care4Calais now also operates in Dunkirk and supports the women centre. The top priority items needed are:
-women’s leggings
-women’s shoes, size 36+
-women’s gloves
-new bras, underwear, socks

If you can donate, please clare@care4calais.org.

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Credits: Care4Calais

Calais Action has moved its presence to the greek island of Lesvos and visited the amazing Dirty Girls. Together they are selling bags made of fake life jackets, which are suitable for laptops and tablets. With 100 Euros you can support their work and get one bag.

Malakasa camp in Greece is in urgent need of shoes of all sizes. If you can donate, please bring them to 8 Gastoúnēs and Plato. Plato Academy (opening times: Thursday-Friday 6.00–11.00 pm) Also needed: Men’s pants-warm children’s clothes-socks.

Sirius.Help is also looking for volunteers. They are present in the Serbian-Hungarian transit zones, covering essential needs of the refugees stuck there. Further they have access to some camps in Hungary. If you want to join them, check their information.

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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