Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 15-16 10.16


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 Greece: East Aegean islands reception capacity and "guest" numbers


Ministry figures show that that at 7.30 on 14 October 2016 there were:

- 15,318 "Guests" and only capacity for
-   8,008 in detention centres - includes 89 refugees who arrived early that morning

 Greece: More than Six Months Stranded – What Now? A Joint Policy Brief on the Situation for Displaced Persons in Greece (pdf):

"This briefing paper is the result of a joint effort by 12 national and international organizations operating in Greece. The aim is to explain the current situation for those stranded in Greece for over six months since the closure of the northern border and introduction of the European Union (EU) – Turkey deal....

To date, however, some EU Member States have established policies that proactively undermine the concept of responsibility sharing, continue to place the burden on Greece, and ultimately push people underground, into the hands of smugglers and those seeking to exploit their desperation—a reality that organizations in Greece see evidence of daily....

Those that arrived before the EU-Turkey deal - currently an estimated 47,000 people - are living on the mainland in formal “open temporary reception structures” (sites) including warehouses or informal sites such as abandoned buildings in urban areas. Those arriving after introduction of the EU-Turkey deal are confined to closed facilities (formerly called “hotspots”4) or sites on the Greek islands bordering Turkey with restricted movement - 13,171 people as of 13 September 2016.5 Reception and asylum procedures are applied inconsistently across islands and differ from those on the mainland, based on each individual’s arrival date and nationality." 

 Seven migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides with Greek coast guard vessel (Japan Times, link)

"LESBOS, GREECE – A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said.

The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.

The first bodies to be retrieved were those of a woman, two young girls and a baby, the coast guard said.

Three other victims, “a woman, a man and a minor,” were found later, the coast guard said as Greek rescuers backed by a Portuguese ship and an EU border agency Frontex helicopter combed the waters for the missing.

The 31 survivors who were brought to safety had reported a total of eight people missing.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from land."

 UK volunteers with donations for Calais denied entry to France - Volunteers driving cars full of clothes and food for refugees are turned away at Folkestone, told they pose threat to public order (Guardian, link)

"Some British volunteers driving cars full of donations for refugees in Calais have been turned away at the French border in Folkestone, and told that they were being denied entry because they posed a threat to public order, as French officials finalise plans for the camp’s demolition."

 Greece: SNAFU and its Consequences for Refugees on Samos (Samos Chronicles, link):

"It is now the middle of October and the weather is still holding fine. But the first heavy rains of the autumn are likely at any time. What then for the hundreds of refugees who are living in the tents inside the Hotspot/Camp? From what we can determine no provision has or is being planned for the coming winter.

The past week has seen the biggest daily arrivals since before the EU/Turkey pact of March 2016, with over 500 this week. Most are from Syria. For some reason the Greek media is giving little publicity to this significant increase."

 Are You Syrious (15.10.16, link)

Lack of accommodation proves to be a chronic problem for refugee families who arrive to Athens

"A large group of volunteers gathered at Humanitarian Bridges Initiative to feed and give blankets to homeless refugees around Omonia Square in Athens last night. They have encountered two Kurdish families with 16 members who’d arrived from Kalamata near the Peloponnese. They’d attempted to take a boat from Turkey to Italy but something went awry and they ended up in Greece after being at sea for 3 days! They were exhausted and sleeping on the ground. Volunteers have tried to find the accommodation for them, but have encountered the same problem we have reported in the previous digests: a chronic lack of space in hotels, hostels and squats in the city. Thanks to the joint volunteer efforts, the family was taken care of and managed to get some rest, but many families and single refugees are still left to sleep on the streets as the official humanitarian response in Greece continues to fail them."

Athena Centre for Women needs urgent support!

"Athena Centre for Women led by Gabrielle Tan on Chios remains one of the few safe spots dedicated to supporting refugee women, many of whom have endured severe trauma and violence on their way to safety. Athena’s daily work includes protecting women and children exposed to stabbings, suicides, attempted sexual assaults and rape. However, they won’t be able to continue their valuable work if they don’t secure a steady flow of funds for their activities. At the moment they are in an urgent need of support, so please follow this link for more info and consider donating."

Landmines: a lethal threat for refugees who might attempt travelling through Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Ever since the borders have officially closed, refugees managed to find a way to travel via Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Every now and then, we hear about alleged attempts to travel through Bosnia and Herzegovina. If there are any refugees considering that route at the moment, we’d like to warn them about a lethal risk of the landmines that are left scattered around since the ex-Yugoslavian war in the 1990’s. We’re attaching the map of known minefields in a hope no one will have to use it in order to reach their preferred destination country. Hi-res map can be found here."

 State Of Emergency Extended In FYROM (New That Moves, link):

"On October 13, the FYROM Parliament voted in favour of extending the state of emergency on the southern border with Greece until July 30, 2017..."

 Are You Syrious (14.10.16, link)


"The newest date for the begining of the evacuation of the Calais Jungle is Monday, October 24, according to some sources. Despite increasing information from the field, the French state still insists on withholding any official confirmation of the date and details of the evacuation. Nevertheless, media and public sources claim that dozens of so-called Welcome and Orientation Centres (CAO) in all parts of France are preparing will provide around 7000 places to lodge those currently staying in Calais. The whole process is supposedly organized so that the people, although in fact free to move, are supervised and accompanied at all times. Around 3000 police officers will take part in the operation."

GREECE: Arrivals

"Three boats carrying 70 people landed on the north-east coast of Lesvos Friday. Among them there were 18 women, one pregnant woman and 19 children. Everyone was safe, thanks to the excellent work of the rescue teams.

According to the official registration, there were 89 newly registered arrivals in Greece: 10 on Lesvos and 79 on Samos. 58 people were deported, with 16 voluntary departures. Since the Turkey-EU deal in March, there has been 701 deportation officially registered by the Government, with 39 voluntary departures reported this month."

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