Another winter brings much suffering

Arrivals and Departures in Lesvos
From the 1st till the 23rd January, there have been 116 arrivals via sea to Lesvos. In that same time period, 53 people departed to the mainland. There are currently 2,325 refugees and asylum seekers that still reside on Lesvos. 87% of the 2,325 are living in Moria 2.0. Men account for 50% of the population, Women 27% and Children, 23%. 4 out of every 5 children are under the age of 12(UNHCR).

Fires in the camp
In January, there have already been two fires in the camp.Many of the people in the camp are already spending their second winter here. They are forced to stay in this “temporary” camp, exposed to wind and weather. And for many residents who have already survived the fire in Moria, such events are always retraumatizing. The last fire on 28 January broke out in the large tents for single men. Again, more than 50 men lost all their belongings and therefore everything

Covid Restrictions and leaving the camp on Lesvos
Being able to leave the camp is at the moment dependent upon the number of Covid cases on the Island. For example if the Covid cases in Lesvos are less than 100 all residents can exit everyday 08:00-20:00. If the Covid cases are more than 100, then half of the residents can exit 08:00-14:00 and the other half, 14:00- 20:00 . If Covid cases are more than 200 then 25% of the population can exit between 08:00-11:00, another 25% can leave between 11:00-14:00, with the following 2x groups of 25% being able to leave between 14:00-17:00 and then 7:00-20:00. According to the Covid Cases now in Lesvos, half of the population can exit 08:00-14:00 and the rest of them 14:00-20:00.”

Weather in Greece
The Greek mainland has seen extreme winter weather conditions these past two weeks, with snow and ice being present in Athens and the surrounding camps. With roads and services being cut off during this time, it has meant that there are many people who do not have access to proper food, shelter and medical attention. We hope that this changes in the coming days as the snow starts to melt. 

Hunger Crisis in Greece
The current Greek Government brought in rules in October 2021, where vital services such as cash assistance and food are being cut for recognised refugees and rejected asylum seekers and those who had failed to register applications. For recognised refugees, this happens as quickly as 30 days after the decision being made. This decision has excluded around 6,000 people from food provisions in camps (around 40% of people based in camps on the mainland). Many have gone hungry over the winter, in particular children going to school with an empty stomach each day. It is unacceptable that in Greece, a member of the European Union, that people are knowingly going hungry due to new laws and policies.