Samos is a greek island in the aegean sea. At the nearest point it's just 1,8 km away from the Turkish coast. Every day there are arriving aproximately 300 refugees with boats. 12% of the ones that start their journey on the boat from turkey arrive on Samos.
The registration and segregation of people according to their nationality is held in a camp down at the harbour of Samos city. Depending on their nationality people stay in the camp at the harbour or have to go in another camp up the hill. This camp is a prison, which is used at the moment to shelter refugees. The prison was built for 250, but can be used for more than 1000 people at a time, waiting for their registration papers.
Just a roof
The situation of sanitation, medical help and food is a catastrophy. Like everywhere in Greece, the basic human needs are not guaranteed by the state or EU, but completely provided by self-organized structures, medicin sans frontieres and active people from the island. Some people from Samos support donating food and clothes, but they also spread information about the situation of refugees here on the island (for example: Samos chronicles :: samoschronicles.wordpress.com[/urlext).
The daily task - cooking
The food for the camp at the harbour comes from the Open Eyes Kitchen crew, which is also an important spot for new arriving or leaving refugees. This provisory organized camp with tents and containers is run by the UNHCR and exists since November 2015.
For about a month we, the No Border Kitchen crew, have been cooking at the camp up the hill. Before then there was only one insufficent meal a day, now there is also breakfast and dinner. We cook, chop and eat together with the people from the camp and are also a meeting point for a lot of them. Sometimes they have to stay four weeks or longer here. Apart from food we also give out warm clothes, information about the Balkan route, learn languages, dance and laugh together.
The deportation prison
Some of the refugees, mainly people from Morocco and Algeria, are not sheltered in the camps but imprisoned without reason. The conditions in the prison are catastrophic, there were 70 people in one 50 square metre cell, that didn't have enough blankets and no sanitation. The imprisoned are not allowed to call anybody. It's also not allowed to visit them apart from family members and sometimes people from NGO's. Some people told us that there are constantly deportations back to turkey.
More information on the Open Eyes Kitchen webpage [urlext http://www.balkanroute.eu]balkanroute.eu.
Building Hot Spots
Near the camp up the hill the medicins sans frontieres wanted to build more tents and sanitation places to balance the situation in the camp. They had already started to flatten the steep hill, when the city stopped their work. Now military trucks are working there. It's likely that here will be built the Hot Spot of Samos. The first Hot Spot in Greece was opened October 2015 on Lesvos and according to Frontex and EU there are planned more on Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros. Hot Spots are registration camps where refugees are segregated by nationality and their motivation for fleeing their country (political or economic). This is overseen by translators. People that do not fit in the categories of Frontex and the EU or don't have the ?right? nationality will be segregated and put into pre-removal camps, where they wait for deportation.
In the beginning we had some stress with the greek police. They wanted to displace the kitchen, without any reason, but at the moment it's quiet. Although it's not predictable how the situation here on Samos but also on other greek islands will evolve, we know that Frontex wants to send more people on the greek islands, for sure also on Samos. Frontex is not only willing to control the registration of refugees or patrol at the borders, but also to observe and control active people and volunteers across theislands in the Aegean. (Source :: ekathimerini.com)
Freedom of movement for everybody.
Article by No Border Kitchen Samos, published first on 19. Jan 2016 in :: linksunten.indymedia.org.