Two months after the fire: back to work, until we’re no longer needed
Exactly two months ago Moria was on fire. Two months ago we were operating our last shift in the clinic after helping more than 100 patients when the fires erupted. And: exactly two months later, we have started again with our very first shifts in the new camp.
While we are extremely worried about the horrifying living conditions that thousands still suffer from each day, we are happy that we can finally be there again for people and make a difference, through our medical (emergency) care. By now, we have completed three successful (trial) shifts from our mobile clinic.
Where the first two shifts were fairly calm, today we could help more patients, amongst which a pregnant woman who had to be taken to hospital and a child with burn wounds. Also, we were able to prevent two patients from having to be transferred to the hospital by ambulance. This way we put into practice exactly what we came for: offering medical care to the people in the camp, whilst at the same time alleviating the local care system.
Poor living conditions
At the moment a new section of the medical area is being set up. We are the first medical organization to be present in this new area; our brand-new working area is still surrounded by excavation machines and construction materials. Hopefully this week will see the arrival of the iso-boxes, so that we can build a waiting area and a sheltered and covered space for the triage, to provide protection against weather influences.
The past days have seen a lot of extreme winds. The north-western sea-wind hits the camp full-on and is extremely cold. Fortunately, it hasn’t rained yet, but the wind makes is difficult to work in an open space. Not to mention what it is like to have to live in a tent under these weather circumstances.
On top of this, the entire country of Greece is in lockdown again since this weekend, due to the increasing numbers of COVID infections. People are only allowed to leave their homes for very essential reasons, a restriction that also applies to the residents of the camp. Contrary to earlier this year, we are lucky the camp has not been placed in complete lockdown. Still these measures impose significant restrictions in an already perilous situation.
Camp residents are still allowed (upon being able to show written evidence) to go to essential appointments like the doctor, asylum services or their lawyer. Besides this, selected groups assigned based on registration numbers can leave the camp in one of three time slots per day, meaning everyone can leave the camp once a week. For the remainder of the days they are stuck in the camp; in a cold, wet tent, far away from almost all basic services.
We will continue to speak out against this unacceptable, inhumane situation. Our greatest wish is that this situation finally ends, and we will no longer be needed. In the meantime, we will be there for those in need, and we will help them as best we can, for as long as they need.