Skala Sikamineas has always been a special place. Now, it has two Nobel Peace Prize nominees from the village.
This little fishing village by the sea, looking out on Turkey, has given so much support to the arriving refugees in need. Years and years before the volunteers came. Most of the local residents in Skala are the descendants of people forced to leave their homes in Turkey in the 1920’s, starting a new life in Greece, and they connect their own backgrounds to what the refugees now have to go through.
83 year old grandmother Emilia Kamvisi and Stratos Valiamos, one of the fishermen in Skala Sikamineas who have been rescuing refugees at sea, are now said to have been picked to represent the helpers on the Greek islands in a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In December, we posted this interview with Stratos. After spending months helping each other out in welcoming people arriving on Lesvos, taking us out on beach cleanings and chatting in the cafés, our humble friend told us more about what he has been through here.
People have started a journey to a better life. I will not let the sea stop them.
The sea has always been the the love of Stratos life. Few days have passed without him being in the water. But since the refugee crisis intensified in May, the sea has given him problems sleeping.
Welcome to Europe and AlarmPhone Statement about the Situation on Lesvos Island / Greece
Refugees who survive the journey and succeed to cross the maritime border between Turkey and Greece in small and overcrowded plastic boats are subjected to the so-called EU ‘hotspot approach’ since its launch on Friday 16th of October 2015. As part of the European Agenda on Migration, hotspots are now being deployed by mobile teams of the European border agency Frontex to support so-called ‘frontline EU states’ in systematically identifying and screening travelers who ‘illegally’ entered EU territory. One of Frontex’ main tasks is to speed up the ‘return process’, thus the deportation of those who Frontex ‘identifies’ as not coming from a country of war and/or as not having valid grounds for asylum in Europe.
++Refugees left to survive in Moria under inhuman conditions++Vulnerable groups unprotected for days in war zone like areal++
2,500 persons can be registered daily in Moria according to local media, while more than 10,000 arrived within the last 24 hours. Refugees are queueing kilometers in and outside the registration camp that was originally constructed as a prison. At the same time the registration camp lacks any form of a functioning queuing system as well as dignified infrastructures and basic needs provision. Refugees are sitting and sleeping for hours between mud and garbage, being pushed by the crowd, insulted and beaten by police forces and sometimes even thrown tear gas. They get sick and injured under the life threatening living conditions in Moria.
“I am queueing since 10 days!,” a Syrian man says. “I am single, but my family is left in Syria and I have to get them out to save their lives. I am very anxious. In this camp the is no human rights. It is zero zero.”
The new Minister for Immigration G.Mouzalas visited yesterday the Island of Lesvos.
inspecting the camps with thousands of people that are not yet registered.
After his visit he announced following changes:
After 2 weeks there will be 60 new people andnew computers working for the registration procedure.
Registration will take place in Kara Tepe and in Moria
The Ferry Eleftherios Venizelos will be coming only to Mitilini and will
be leaving as soon as all tickets are sold.
(yesterday people having tikets were stuck outside the Port and could
not enter the boat that was waiting to get full to leave.)
more MAT special police forces for Lesvos.
(there is money for police special forces but not money for enough
translators in Farsi and Arabic to communicate with the people so that
they are informed about what they are to expect )
the army will bake daily 1.500 breads to distribute and is willing to
give cars for transport.
the military spaces that are empty like in KLEIOU village will be opened
for newly arrived Refugees.
new registration place in another military space KOURTZI in the north of Mitilini.
in the meantime the streets are again full of newly arrived refugees, walking from the north of the island 70 km since the authorities have blocked the bus transports due to too many people concentrated inMitilini/Kara Tepe/Moria.
NO REGISTRATION at the moment at the PORT!