Aegean islands: Government evacuates thousands from Hot Spots

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

The Greek government yesterday emptied the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean in order to start implementing the newly decided measures as concluded during the EU-Summit with Turkey on 17./18.th. About 2,700 were transferred from Chios, 4,000 from Lesvos and 800 from Samos. Tragically, as activists report, the refugees were not informed where they would be brought and were highly stressed and in fear.


Thessaloniki port

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

Hundreds were brought to Kavala port and from there to Thessaloniki where gates in the port were prepared to host refugees.
Others arrived to Skaramangas port near Athens. Many will be transferred to camps around Ioannena. New arrivals were brought also to Koutsochero – an army camp in the middle of nowhere.

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

On Sunaday 47,536 refugees were in Greece. In the last hours before the EU-Summit conclusions would come into force hundreds of refugees tried reaching the Greek islands. The agreement referring to the quick readmission of all newcomers does not however affect the more than 46,000 refugees and migrants already in Greece, but all newcomers after March 20th. Refugees despite the threats of immediate returns by the EU continue to make the dangerous crossing in unseaworthy boats, as they flee war and conflict. In Mytilene two dead refugees were found in a dinghy who seemingly died of heart attacks. In Kos two small girls drowned as they fell of a refugee boat.

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... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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