AYS Daily Digest 10/10/17: Alarming mental health situation

Moving people from islands to mainland Greece is an imperative, MSF claims / harsh conditions for a growing number of detained refugees in Libya / Turkey’s official number of pushbacks rises to 700 / Camps will be closing in Greece / protests against deportations to Afghanistan in Sweden / Help needed in France / more information, stats and calls for volunteering


“These people have survived bombing, extreme violence and traumatic events in their home countries or on the road to Europe, but shamefully it’s what they face on the Greek islands that leads them into despair, hopelessness and self-harm. Every day our teams treat patients who tell us that they would prefer to have died in their country than be trapped here.”

Through other volunteers, groups and individuals, AYS is in contact with a number of people who have seriously been affected by their experiences in the EU provided shelters and camps, by the violence they have experienced with the EU member states’ police officials, and ultimately by the conditions and state in which they’re living in the EU. Already prior to this they have been exposed to various stress factors that influenced their mental health and what seems to be considered as “providing a refuge” while waiting in a system that does not provide for their needs, and often exacerbates or inflicts trauma rather than starting to heal it. Many young people have been damaged by their experiences during the time spent waiting and on the route.

Their exposure to war, violence, torture, forced migration and exile, as well as the uncertainty of their status, seems to be overlooked in the vast majority of plans, strategies, and policies developed by the EU.

The Situation is not getting better. The weather is getting colder, the camps are getting more crowded and the organisations, working on the ground are reaching their limits. — One Happy Family — Community Center, Lesvos

The story of a refugee who tried to commit suicide today in Koutsochero camp in Greece should be a reminder to all of us of the mental health crises that needs to be addressed in refugee populations throughout Europe, and a wake-up call for policy makers ignoring this issue.

Just take a minute to think how many things we do not learn because people are imprisoned. — NoBorders Greece

The ERCI — Emergency Response Centre International also confirm the need for mental health care:

It is important to address the mental health of refugees, as mental illness brutally controls the running of a person in many ways and can often contribute to poor physical health.

Families being separated for years, under family reunion delays.
Inadequate medical or psychological care.
Being trapped on the Islands.
Isolated Camps.
Massive Unemployment.
Waiting for decisions on legal cases.
These are just some of factors that are causing so much pain, on #worldmentalhealthday, among refugees in Greece. — Refugee Info Bus


Conditions worsening for thousands of refugees stuck in Libya

Previously in Sabratha

Reportedly, the UNHCR said it had approached Libyan authorities to ensure that refugees among the migrants were freed from detention.

While yesterday the number of refugees estimated to be in the area was 6,00, but today the numbers have jumped to an estimated 10,000 migrants being held in the Sabratha area. These people are held in unacceptably poor conditions, some having received no food or water for six days, according to official statements.



Sea-Eye team saved 23 people in a SAR mission earlier today.


Syrian chemical weapons cause of a child’s death in Greece



Alarming situation develops

Conditions on these islands have been allowed to fester while the Greek government, local authorities, the E.U. and the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, take turns blaming each other.

Vulnerable refugees — including families with babies, elderly women in wheelchairs and people with mental health issues — are struggling without heating, electricity or hygiene due to overcrowding in the refugee camp in Samos, and situation is not much better elsewhere on the islands.

The conditions in which asylum-seekers living in the Greek Islands create continuous traumatic stress. — MSF

“European and Greek authorities are directly responsible for this suffering. People’s extreme vulnerability and the complete failure of systems on the islands leave them with no other choice.”

Become a volunteer lawyer on Lesvos

  • Able to spend a minimum of three weeks in Lesvos;
  • Training and/or experience in Asylum Law and the law of international protection;
  • Proficiency in English required.

If interested, please fill in the application form and submit it to info@europeanlawyersinlesvos.eu
They are currently welcoming applications from potential volunteers for t he period 1 November — 31 December 2017, as well as for the period 1 January — 31 March 2018

Closing of the camps


Workshops for refugees — finding a job

Workshops and CV consultations take place from Monday to Friday at Konstantinoupoleos Street 44 — map: https://goo.gl/maps/9DSUvSQfH4U2

To sign up for a workshop in Arabic, message Basil Garaa at basil@organizationearth.org

To sign up for a workshop in Farsi, message Amin Rustaqi at amin@organizationearth.org

If you are interested in a workshop in English, Urdu or Pashto, message Dimitra Giazitzi at dimitra@organizationearth.org
Please find detailed information and text in other languages here.

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Join Hope Refugee FC, Athens’s 1st football team consisting of refugees & asylums seekers! Are you a refugee/asylum seeker & passionate for football? Come to Hope’s try outs, on Thursday Oct 12th & Friday Oct 13th. (Source: Hope Refugee FC-Αθλητική Ελπίδα Προσφύγων)

Refugee Biriyani & Bananas are calling for support in order to raise funds for immediate help in areas where refugees are most affected by cold weather and dire living conditions, both in Greece and Iraq.

We support camps and people who are the most vulnerable. We support those camps and people who lack help from the government and NGOs.
The upcoming winter is already causing anxiety as there is a lack of official winterization so we try to fill the gaps.
We have to fundraise for heaters, thermal wear and shoes for those in Greece.
We have to send pallets of winter clothing and shoes for those in Northern Iraq.
We have to provide vulnerable families with ill members, pregnant women and babies with apartments for respite.
We need your help to raise funds urgently.



Those who choose to remain “stateless” to get deported


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Photo: Brigitte Boitel

Donations needed in the Dunkirk area, as volunteers report:

saline pods (10ml)
ibuprofen gel
ear drops
anti histamines
antacid tablets
athlete’s foot / daktarin / miconazol cream
scabies cream
olbas oil
lip sore cream

also there is a big need for compression bandages and steristrips

please pm Joram Melissant for shipping information and stock keeping.

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Source: Timothy Perkins


Please do not fly Samir Mehl to be tortured in Sudan onto flight TK1938 tomorrow at 11.20am from Brussels to Istanbul


An activist group has been calling for people to come on the evening of October 10 and try to stop a deportation of reportedly at least 9 people from Afghanistan who had been in the country for years.

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Event link with more information: here

At the same time they ask all young people and all people who are in the middle of their asylum procedure to stay home.
There are also those actively working to prepare legal support for people facing deportations to Afghanistan.
Calling for solidarity, they are also asking people for donations to help Afghans.

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A mother who witnessed her 18-year old son being deported to Afghanistan, while she and her other child were allowed to stay in Sweden. A number of dangers possibly await for her son in the country they escaped from. (Photo: Abdul Ghafoor)

Read the story here.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com

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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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