AYS DIGEST 7/10: Heroes of Peace — The White Helmets

Image for post
Image for post


Almost half of people who were killed in the war in Syria are civilians. People who are living in war-affected areas are afraid for their lives and lives of their children. In search for peace and freedom, they are forced to leave their homes. For many people in Syria, as well as many other countries where wars are raging, or people lives are in danger for other reasons, Europe represents a dream, a place where they will finally be safe and have a future. But, European borders are closed and strictly watched.

On October 6, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency was officially launched. The ceremony was held at the Bulgarian border with Turkey. The task of this new agency is to “closely monitor the EU’s external borders and work together with Member States to quickly identify and address any potential security threats to the EU’s external borders”.

Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Fabrice Leggeri, said:

The main tasks of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency are to:
• monitor migratory flows and carry out risk analysis;
• monitor the management of the external borders of the EU;
• provide operational and technical assistance to the Member States;
• support search and rescue operations;
• play an enhanced role in returns of third-country nationals who do not have the right to stay on the EU territory;
• support — together with other EU agencies — national authorities of the Member States carrying out coast guard functions.

The Agency will have the mandate to work in cooperation with third countries, “in particular, neighbouring countries and countries of origin and transit for irregular migration”. The can also send “deploy liaison officers” to these countries.

We looked into EU success in tackling this humanitarian crisis so far. Read AYS Special Report on 200 days of EU-Turkey deal.


This morning, German boat crew saved lives of 126 people from the sea. They are all safe now.

Image for post
Image for post
After rescue. Photo by MSF Sea.

IOM reports that 314,003 migrants and refugees entered Europe by the sea in 2016 on 5 October, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy.

IOM Rome reported Thursday that 11,432 migrants were rescued in the Channel of Sicily this week. After the peak arrivals of Monday (6,000) and Tuesday (5,000), arrivals slowed by mid-week. On Wednesday just 363 migrants were rescued. Some 38 bodies were recovered, including 22 victims of asphyxiation.

Image for post
Image for post

So far in 2016 the Italian Ministry of Interior has registered 142,725 arrivals by sea, up 6 percent from the same time last year.


New arrivals are officially registered in Greece

Some people also left Greece. Officially, 11 returned to Turkey, on their own will hopefully.

A number of residents in Cherso dropped from 1667 to 1567, and in Nea Kavala from 1875 to 1775.

Greece government deported 55 people yesterday and 10 today, as it is stated in the official registration info sheet. According to clarification, 10 Syrians — eight men and two women — were returned to Turkey. Eight withdrew their requests for international protection status, and two did not request asylum.

No Border Kitchen Lesvos protest deportations claiming that more is to come. They also warn about the deal made between the EU and Afghanistan according to which many people who left the country and are now in Europe, could be returned.

In total, there were 60136 people in Greece today. The number is much higher if all the people who are not registered are counted. According to some estimations that number could be up to 8000.


The Mobil Info Team reminds today to about quality of food in Greek camps that is still unsatisfactory.

Over 50.000 people are living in camps around Greece. Some of them are there for a very long time, at least since February this year. Life in camps does not even resemble ordinary life. it is hard, sad, unbearable most of the times. But love always finds its way. This is video from the wedding in Karamanlis camp. Congratulations from our side, too.

Call for Solidarity

Volunteer Farhad Timur posted a call for an optometrist who could volunteer some time at Lesvos to do eye tests. Contact him if you can help.

Taking care of teeth at the squats

Group of dentists volunteers issued an important reminder for all volunteers


The number of migrants and refugees in Belgrade is getting higher daily.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Daily news about Refugees

According to some estimation, there are more than 1700 people now in this city, and huge number among them are forced to stay out in open. Volunteers are serving hot food and beverages during the day and trying to provide people with warm clothes. They need help and calling for more volunteers to come. If you can, please go. You can also help with donations.

These are main takeaways that several coordinators for aid organizations have agreed on.

If you do smaller donations, often you can ignore the process altogether, but if you say you are bringing donations at the border, they will probably demand you start the process, which is pretty intense.

Regardless, individuals wishing to go through this procedure should definitely consult with their target organization well in advance so that there is time to organize.


Absurdity from the border

Meanwhile, on September 29, the Italian Council of State has delivered its first judgments suspending transfers of asylum seekers to Hungary and Bulgaria under the Dublin Regulations in order to prevent violations of fundamental rights. I the case of Hungary, they concluded that:

In the case of Bulgaria, the decision to transfer asylum seekers to this country was annulled on account of risks of inhuman or degrading treatment contrary to Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.


The situation in Bulgaria remains tense but kept far away from the eyes of people in the rest of the EU. Some of the volunteers we contacted in this country told us that they do not feel to talk about conditions in camps or issues they are facing daily. Hate crimes are on the rise all over the country. This Friday, the movement Natsionalna Sportiva (National Resistance) called for a protest march “against migrants who have taken over the streets of the capital”. The plan was that the protest will pass the places where migrants have been placed.

At the same time, people from Greece are being relocated to Bulgaria, sometimes against their will. Some even refused to go. Nevertheless, organized centers for refugees are overcrowded and working beyond their total capacity, the Bulgarian news agency Novinite reported. Dimitar Kirov, a senior official of the State Agency for Refugees (DAB), e said that 5,568 people are currently accommodated at the centers, where the capacity is around 5100–5200.


Refugee Info Bus

Image for post
Image for post


A small boy and his mother ended up in hospital in the town of Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, after two men entered his home carrying weapons and shouting racist insults. Police have arrested the two men and are investigating whether there was a racist motive to the crime.

In Sebnitz, also Saxony-Anhalt, some teenagers have threatened three Syrian children, aged 5, 8 and 11, with a knife and hit them when the children left the bus on Thursday evening. The children reported, that the teenagers shouted right-wing slogans.

The police found some teenagers, between 15 and 20 years old, who could be the attackers. Investigations are ongoing.

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