AYS Daily Digest 25/5/2017: Chios is at breaking point

Chios camps over-capacitated / Closing of makeshift camp at the site of Athens’ old aiport at Elliniko / Fire broke out in Filippiada Camp / Sanctioning solidarity in Croatia / Family reunification from Greece limited to 70 people per month / MSF carries 12 rescue operations saving 1449 people only today

By MSF Sea from today’s rescue mission. After 10 hours and 12th rescues there were 1449 people safely on board.

Chios is at breaking point

In a meeting with inspectors from the ministry of migration recently, United Rescue Aid was informed that Vial camp is now empty.

The two officials were surprised when we told them that people in Souda camp on Chios, are sleeping on the ground and that we had sent tents from Lesvos and attika. Our surprise was the same.So we checked the numbers on UNHCR site and also with our contacts on Chios and the information we got are smashing: Vial with official capacity 500, have 980 residents. Souda with official capacity around 500, have more than 1000 residents at the moment. The funny thing is that these officials told us that they just came from Chios. Obviously they hadn’t actually visited the camps… , URA wrote.

They also write about new deportations from Lesvos.

Refugee Info Bus gives an insight into the Chios situation:

Two of our team members were held by police for 4 hours and were released on the grounds that the photos they had taken of toilets and conditions, inside and around the camp, were deleted. We believe this level of security exists because conditions are deteriorating rapidly. We have seen first hand the violent treatment of refugees by police who are “trying” to get off the island. Mainland Greece and Athens, not Germany, France or the UK is now the unattainable dream for so many people held here in an unsanitary limbo. According to the authorities, at least 3,000 people are penned in on the island, half in a makeshift camp, living in festival tents, the rest are in a razor wire topped detention centre.

AYS source in Vial also writes about recent situation in the camp, experiencing bad treatment by the local police, forbidding food distribution despite of the horrible food they receive there:

Salem and I had filled my rental car with much needed food packages from the Chios People’s Kitchen and headed to Vial. Twice a week — on his own initiative and using the resources of the CPK — Salem delivers packages of food or clothing there. He is called Baba Noel by its very underserved residents, and his visits are eagerly anticipated. Salem used to ride the bus that makes regular runs between Vial and Souda camps, but he and his packages are now denied access to it. The kitchen does have a delivery van (the lovely Dolores) but refugees are not allowed to drive in Greece, even if they have a valid driver’s license. Volunteers, in turn, are not allowed access into Vial. So I waited outside as Salem delivered the packages in small batches. There is absolutely no sign posted outside forbidding photographs — so I took some pictures of the exterior. At that point I was approached by two policemen who took my passport and asked me to follow them to the police station inside the camp. After a while I was informed that “there is something wrong with [my] passport and name” and told to get into a police van to be escorted to the station in town. I asked and was allowed to hastily empty the car of the food packages so that Salem could continue delivering them. The questioning that ensued at the police station was pretty all-encompassing, but focussed most notably on my country of origin and multiple entry to and exit stamps from it. Today Salem again got a ride to Vial, with a load of clothing orders. But this time he was not allowed to deliver them. He and the driver were apparently not questioned but had their IDs checked and were sent on their way with their loaded car.

Volunteer groups and NGOs are not allowed inside Vial. The “catered” food rations residents receive are apparently so vile that many are unable to eat them. There are practically no deliveries of clothes, and outside of the CPK and Salem’s superhuman efforts none of food. Now it seems even this small but much needed effort will be stopped. And for what reason? Vial houses about a thousand human beings that need food and clothes just as much as the rest of us do.

Footage we obtained from the section in Vial camp where 39 unaccompanied minors are housed shows the conditions children have been living in for months.

There were 59 new registrations on Chios today.

According to a new report made by the Norwegian Refugee Council, 40.3 million persons worldwide are internally displaced. The number of refugees who have left their home country currently stands at 21.3 million. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Iraq saw the most displacements due to conflict and violence in 2016, followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen. In total, 6.9 million people were displaced due to conflict and violence last year, with significant uprooting continuing in the Middle East. The report shows some families in Syria were forced to move 25 times within the country to seek safety.

Elsewhere in GREECE


Help Refugees announced a new housing initiative with their partners RefuAid, and their implementing local partners Perichoresis.

This project gives people a home, helps people put their children in local schools, access jobs, learn the language, integrating into the local community whilst also supporting local communities themselves. Greek destitute families and individuals will be included on the program alongside those residents claiming asylum. We’re starting with 10 apartments and are hoping to grow the program, they wrote.

Fire broke out in the UN Container for unknown reasons last night in Filippiada Camp. No one was hurt.

Thessaloniki — English teacher training

Volunteers needed

Ramadan distribution volunteer drivers are needed in Thessaloniki 27th May onwards who can help distribute Ramadan food packs to apartments. Get in contact here. Volunteers will only be needed for one or two days. If you don’t already have a car it can be hired for the day.


They also published new footage from recent events when gunshots were fired by a Libyan coastguard boat during a rescue operation conducted by Jugend Rettet, Sos Mediterraneé and MSF vessels, which we covered in more detail yesterday.

Ahead of the G7 summit this weekend in Taormina, Italy, Médecins Sans Frontières urges G7 leaders to commit to humane and long-term migration policies.

Concrete measures must be taken to implement humane policies towards migrants and refugees: safe and legal channels to seek protection; safe and humane reception conditions in countries of destination and transit; early detection of vulnerabilities; and the implementation of a dedicated search and rescue system in the Mediterranean that seeks to save lives not prevent arrivals to Europe. MSF is particularly concerned by the growing number of deals outsourcing migration management to — often unsafe — third countries that place the very concepts of refugee and protection in danger. Among the latest examples are the deal between the European Union and Turkey and the cynical Italy-Libya deal that supports the interception of migrants at sea by Libyan coastguards. Those migrants are prevented from seeking protection and pushed back to widely known and accepted violence, torture and inhumane detention conditions in Libya.


○ There is a small medical compound with a doctor where people make a appointments to visit.
○ They are escorted with two armed guards from their compound to the medical compound.
○ If something more urgent is needed, they are escorted, again by armed guards, to the hospital by ambulance.

○ Food is provided to the families living there by the Hungarian government. All of it is pre made. Some people say food is ok, but the majority say they dislike it.

Photo Policy:
○ No police, asylum officers, social workers, security infrastructure (cameras, etc.) can be published.
○ Photos of everything else is fine.

See our recent Special report on Hungarian camps for more information.



Baobab Experience is collecting used phones for refugees in collaboration with Circolo Sparwasser located at Via Pigneto 215, Rome everyday from 8 till 11 PM. See how you can contribute here.


Another young refugee was found dead yesterday evening at a technical train station in Cannes La Bocca in Costa Azzurra, confirmed by the Italian railway police. The man’s body was found by the staff of the Société nationale des Chemins de fer Francais, the company that operates public transport in France. The young man is still in the process of identifying. May 20, in the same railway station, the corpse of a Malian 30 year old was found. In recent months, other refugees have died or have been seriously injured after attempting to cross the border of the train pantograph, the appliance placed on the roof of the carriages used to power the convoy, reports Il secolo XIX.


Family reunification from Greece limited to 70 people per month


We strive to echo the correct news from the ground, throughcollaboration and fairness, so let us know if something you read here isnot right.

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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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