By Naomi Kresge
It was 6.30 a.m. on a Saturday when Greek Coast Guard Ensign Chrisafis Theofilos’s boat got a report of a migrant drowning off the coast of the island of Lesvos.
As dawn began to break, Theofilos sped south toward the man’s coordinates. His scheduled departure had already been delayed five hours by a broken radar system that headquarters in Athens hadn’t yet fixed. That made night patrols too dangerous. Before Theofilos got to the man, another Coast Guard boat had already picked him up and taken him to the hospital with hypothermia.
Continue reading In Greek migrant camp, refugees find tough road to Europe
The interview was held by Ilias Maravas for EPA Aigaiou
I remember that I arrived at the shore. I looked for them but I couldn’t find anyone. Then I remember that I woke up in the hospital.
The only survivor of the refugee tragedy of Friday near Lesvos island is a 16-year-old from Bamiyan in Afghanistan. He had entered a dinghy with 28 other Afghans on Friday when after one hour the dinghy started getting into distress and water entered the boat. It turned around and they all fell into the sea.
Continue reading Interview with the survivor of the ship tragedy in Lesvos
On Saturday 15th December in the early morning hours the coast guard found 18 corpses of migrant men and one survivor in Thermi, Lesvos. Until now 21 corpses have been found, two persons have survived (one is in Mytilini and one in Turkey) and seven are still missing. The survivor found first on the Greek side informed the authorities that they had started with a ship of 30 migrants from Turkey which capsized on Friday. the authorities try to locate the rest of the migrants in the sea now – among them two women and two children.
Only one 16-year-old survivor has been plucked out of the water and was hospitalised in the island capital Mytilene and another 17-year-old on the Turkish side. The young boy found in the sea near Lesvos told investigators most of those on board the boat which also carried women and children were from Afghanistan with only two persons from Turkey. Greek public television Net said two women and two children had been among the passengers. The group set sail from the western coast of Turkey on Thursday but ran into bad weather that sank their boat during the night, about two miles off Lesvos.
UPDATE: Two of the corpses were recognised by relatives living in Greece and Sweden respectively. One of the is a 17-year-old whose cousin came to recognise him from Naxos where he is living and the other is a 42-year-old whose brother came from Sweden to check for his whereabouts. Through the recognition of the 17-year-old it became known that there has been found another survivor on the Turkish side. The young survivor found in Lesvos left hospital on Tuesday 18 and was transferred to the detention cells of the coast guard.
yahoo news (in greek)
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lesvos news (in greek)
to vima (in greek)
MYTILINI – PIKPA
THREE WEEKS SINCE THE OPENING AND WE STILL WAIT FOR THE AUTHORITIES TO COMPLY WITH THE MINIMUM OF WHAT THEY PROMISED
In the last weeks we have seen again refugees arriving on Mytilini who due to lacking infrastructures of reception on the island are piled up in miserable detention cells or if these were absolutely overcrowded they found provisory shelter in parks, squares and public places until the moment when the inhabitants of the island attempted to find another solution for them.
Three weeks ago new arriving homeless refugees were firstly transferred to the childrens’ summer camp of PIKPA Mytilini.
The transfer was a result of the pressure of the local society and the worsening weather conditions which followed and which could have had tragic consequences for the lives of the homeless refugees.
Continue reading Mytilini, 14.12.12: PRESS RELEASE
After visitin Lesvos Island, Special Rapporteur on the Human rights of Migrants Francois Crepeau commented on the solidarity camp in PIKPA run by activists and volunteers on the island:
Just before my visit to Lesvos, the local authorities provided facilities (a summer camp close to the airport) to house some migrant families. While I greatly appreciate this initiative, it is run by volunteers from the local community, and is not sustainable without support from Greek authorities. I thus urge the Greek government to support this important initiative, as well as the construction of more open shelters for migrants, which could be used as an alternative to detention, particularly for families and children. The Greek government should cooperate with NGOs in this respect.