Greece: "Every new day in Moria is stealing hope from these people"

20 Jul 20

Marco Sandrone, MSF Field coordinator in Lesbos

'As the project coordinator in Lesbos for over a year, I have been a witness of the inhumane living conditions people are forced to endure here in Moria camp…it is not a life, but a cycle of misery that has been worsening day after day.

We have children who are terrified, and don’t want to leave the MSF clinic because they know going back to Moria is not safe, that it’s miserable, and that they cannot escape. What should we answer to a child who is asking to die instead of going back to Moria?

Marco Sandrone   MSF Field coordinator in Lesbos

Many of our patients are victims of horrendous trauma in their home countries and they are experiencing another level of trauma in Moria, a place that most of them define as their worst nightmare.

Childhood is killed day after day

When I think about children, and there are 6,000 of them trapped in Moria, I see an entire generation whose childhood is killed day after day.

Nothing looks made for human life in the camp, no living space, no toilets, no showers, no recreational activities, no school, no enough medical care

 

Many of them cannot bear anymore horror… but the children of Moria are experiencing traumatic experiences every day, that a normal person will not experience in a whole lifetime. How would anyone feel living in a cage? Looking at the external world behind a fence? Finding only misery and despair in the eyes of your parents.

Yasin is a 9-year-old boy from Afghanistan

Today in Moria most of the residents are families, stuck in a place where critical danger is a direct consequence of the unbearable living conditions: nothing looks made for human life in the camp….no living space, no toilets, no showers, no recreational activities, no school, no enough medical care… Every new day spent in Moria is stealing the hope of this people.

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But what hat makes this even more terrible, is that the few freedoms they had, before COVID-19 reached the island, like going for a walk or swimming in the sea, which somehow alleviated their nightmare for a moment, a drop of daily dignity, this freedom has been taken away from them.

Children are terrified 

As the rest of the world slowly returns to normal this chance does not to Moria’s residents. The restrictions of movement for the people stuck in the reception centres continues by decision of the Greek government. A restriction in place only for asylum seekers and refugees, while everyone else can return to a normal life.

These children should be loving life as kids, not wanting to kill themselves like some extreme cases in our mental health clinic have confessed.

We keep looking for the reason behind this, but we cannot find any. There have been zero cases of COVID-19 in the reception centres so far. These people don’t represent a risk to others, they are at risk and they need help. They need to be recognised for what they are; human beings, fleeing warzones – fleeing persecution.

Yasin is a 9-year-old boy from Afghanistan, who visits the MSF pediatric clinic once a week with his father Mohtar, to consult with a child psychologist

We cannot stay silent any longer! Keeping these people, these children in these conditions is just unacceptable.

We have children who are terrified, and don’t want to leave the MSF clinic because they know going back to Moria is not safe, that it’s miserable, and that they cannot escape. What should we answer to a child who is asking to die instead of going back to Moria?

This shameful reality must stop immediately! We call on the Greek Government to end the restriction of movement for people in the reception centers with no further delay! This policy is threatening people’s mental and physical health without any justification!

As medical actor but also as human beings, we cannot accept to keep witnessing this any longer.'

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