AYS Digest: 14/8 Parks are for People!

Airstrikes and bombing RAIDS on refugee camps near Turkish/Syrian border. Choppy weather and uncertain futures in Greece. Some answers on expired police documents for pre-registration. AYS reporting from Thessaloniki. Protest-Party in Belgrade Parks. Full information on workflow in Subotica, Serbia. Italy slowly preparing for more visitors. In spite of optimism, new tragedies in Calais.

Image for post
Image for post
Belgrade event. Photo credit Leo Vinci

SYRIA

Activists and local coordination groups report that around 50 individuals have been killed in a suicide attack near the Syrian/Turkish border. Despite recent weeks’ optimism with possible restoration of services to civilians in Aleppo and the liberation of Manbij, this attack would bode ill for any hopes of stability in the near future. As the EU-Turkey deal continues to wobble along, one thing remains clear — more civilians need safety.

UPDATE: As more information has been released, it appears that these attacks are not the work of suicide bombers, but rather aerial bombings that have hit refugee camps. The death toll is unknown, but video from the scene is truly horrific.

GREECE

As summer slowly drifts towards fall, the weather will change with it. Athens-Times reports that poor weather conditions are not stopping those wishing to attempt a crossing as several harrowing rescues have been made. Although the numbers of people crossing is noticeably lower than last year, it is in direct conflict with the notion pushed by authorities that with the official closure of the Balkan route, that everything is quiet and under control.

The New York Times published a report on the current state of affairs. Most notably, they pointed out that “European Union member states have sent just 27 of the 400 asylum specialists and 24 of the 400 interpreters they had agreed to provide to process claims for refugees….” The also noted that less than half of those currently residing in Greece have been registered. 21,000 of approximately 57,000 have been registered since the pre-registration scheme went into effect, which was certainly delayed by the weeks during which the Skype-powered system kicked back call after call due to insufficient capacity.

NewsThatMoves has a comprehensive guide to pre-registration for those who have an expire police notice. Crucial information includes the following:

Please see NewsThatMoves for more details.

Lesvos

One boat landed south east of Lesvos near air port 18 people on board two people lost at sea, search and rescue found later, medical was needed, well done every one involved.

Thessaloniki

The Intervolve volunteers at Thessaloniki have successfully constructed some charming benches and tables for the residents! Providing spaces to eat that aren’t on the uncovered ground is an important part of reinforcing dignity that seems to have been systematically targeted throughout the crisis. It is imperative that volunteers be on the lookout for every opportunity to reaffirm dignity and humanity.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Intervolve International Volunteers

The following is a report from an on-site member of AYS who is working in and around Thessaloniki.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Athens

The broader public as well as refugees and volunteers celebrated Pakistan’s independence today with great festivity. To the significant population of Pakistani individuals in camps across Greece, events like this bring a taste of home.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Hugo Miguel Caldeira

SERBIA

Belgrade

Volunteers and activists held a gathering today in the parks to protest the recent evictions of refugees. With the slogans asking whose park it belonged to, they challenged the narrative that the parks were being cleared “on behalf of” Belgrade citizens.

Meanwhile, refugees continue to report less than adequate conditions at Krnjača camp where most were ostensibly relocated. The notion of it being an “open camp” is in doubt considering the number of refugees who were required to jump the fence in order to escape back to the city. However, volunteers point out the dramatic irony in the fact that around forty people were not allowed into the camps and ordered by the authorities to go back to the parks from which they were driven. Nothing is sure in Belgrade at the moment besides the fact that people are bewildered and frustrated with the authorities’ handling of the situation.

Image for post
Image for post
Belgrade Protest-Party. Prorty! Photos courtesy of Leo Vinci
Image for post
Image for post
Protest-Party, Photo: Leo Vinci

Kelebija/Horgoš/Subotica

Numbers at the Serbian-Hungarian border are significantly lower than previously. Authorities continue to pressure individuals to reside in the official camp in Subotica, but volunteers continue to distribute important aid.

Full details on the volunteer support structure and system at Kelebija and Horgos in Serbia courtesy of Moritz Meyer.

Please consider financially supporting the organization Flüchtlingen helfen e.V. in order to support their ongoing work. Although the police now try to pressure refugees to move from the unofficial camps in the pre-transit zones

ITALY

The rate of migration to Italy has notably risen, notes one report, with Frontex having noted over 25,000 individuals, which is a 12% increase over 2015. The situation in Ventmiglia is slowly being addressed, as can be read below in Repubblica:

Around 168 individuals landed in Italy last night.

New housing facilities have been announced in Montello, Como, and Ticino will open in order to relieve the stress on border cities.

In more good news from Italy: the prefecture and the church in Genova are collaborating to offer new hosting places within the region. This is an excellent step forward, and all genuinely hope that Europe and Italy will work to prevent another situation similar to that which is in Greece.

FRANCE

L’ecole d’arts et métiers sadly burned down last night. This came subsequent to the relative victory of the ruling that businesses and cafes in the camp would not be shut down. The cause of the fire is of yet unknown.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo courtesy of Rachel Mantrell, Photo Credit: FORUM

All residents of Calais are advised that despite the ruling, that police have expanded rights to raid various buildings as they see fit. Residents are encouraged to deliver any documents received from the police or the court in the event of a raid to the Legal Point, Open from 15.00–18.00 from Monday to Friday. Leaflets were distributed with this information.

Finally, although donations have dropped for Calais, the need hasn’t and is as urgent as ever. Kitchen in Calais has put out an urgent request for donations. They feed over 1,000 residents per day and often run out of food. Please go to their Facebook page to learn more and don’t let the relative calm of the situation fool you — where governments fail, volunteers succeed, but not without your help!! The direct link to their fundraising page can be found here.

Written by

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store