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Voices of refugees three days after the destruction of Moria camp

For three nights in a row, most of the 12,000 refugees that lived inside and outside Moria refugee camp on Lesvos have been forced to sleep in the streets under very difficult conditions. Without any other alternative, they stayed from Wednesday in the central provincial road of Moria, in nearby beaches, olive groves and even a cemetery. Among them, there were 4.000 children with their families. Meal distribution started with a delay of nearly two days, late on Thursday afternoon, without however any care of how all refugees would have access to the distribution. According to the testimonies provided by refugees, the police prohibited them from reaching Mytilene town or other villages in order to buy food. Among all others, the lack of access to electricity caused them many difficulties in the contact with their families. The immensely taut atmosphere was burdened by threats and attacks by a segment of locals who oppose the establishment of any new facility for refugees on the island and are supported on this by representatives of the municipal authority.

*Nasim, male asylum-seeker from Afghanistan who lived inside Moria camp

“The whole camp was burning, the refugees left the camp. Now we are in Panagiouda road. For three days now,we do not have food, water, we do not have anything. We had taken some food with us when we left Moria, but that finished. We also have no money. It is so difficult, we do not have blankets, we sleep in the road. There is no organization to give food here and the police is closing any street. During the night, it’s very cold. Today just one organization came to distribute food, but the portions were not enough for all. We cannot go back to Moria, we cannot go back to Mytilene, we cannot go to Panagiouda shops, also we cannot go to Thermi, we cannot go anywhere. Today, I was able to charge my phone in a building for 5 minutes in order to call my lawyer.”

*Radha is a single female asylum-seekers from Syria with serious health issues. She lived in a tent outside Moria camp.

“I sleep in a wooden bench without blankets, without anything. All my possessions were destroyed in the fire. Thankfully, I managed to save myself. Five minutes after I fled, the place I lived was burnt. Since the day that the fire broke out, I have not eaten anything. I try to find something to eat in the trees and the fields. You may not believe me, but this is the truth. No one has come here to bring us food or water. When I manage to find a tap, I drink water, otherwise I do not. Yesterday, I cried all day as I was in pain. My whole body is hurting. At night, I cannot sleep from hunger. If it was in my hands, I would leave from this island. I would like someone to help me go, so I can find myself and my health. Yesterday, we tried to go back inside the hotspot, so we could see if there was a place to sleep. The authorities told us to go away. The locals threaten us and chase us wherever we go”.

*Ahmad, male asylum-seeker from Guinea who lived in a tent in Moria

“I slept when the fire broke out in Moria. My friends woke me up and shouted at me ‘get up, there is a fire’. I got up quickly, took my papers and fled. All my clothes and shoes were destroyed in the fire. I slept in the road all these days as there were tents or containers to sleep. Police does not allow us to go to Mytilene. Yesterday, they started distributing food and water to some people but no blankets. I do not know what will happen from now on as I cannot decide for all this. I am scared for my life. I do not feel secure. The locals chase us from their fields. I escape from one problem and fall into another one”.

* All names have been changed to protect privacy and security

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