When our team started work this week, they weren’t sure exactly what it would look like now that so much has changed in the aftermath of the fire.
Almost all of the former residents of Moria have been relocated and moved into the new camp. The new camp is 3.5 km (60 min walk) from our centre and even with the distance there are women and children coming each day. Some made the journey just for a shower while others brought strollers full of clothes to be washed. Yesterday, one girl came in for her first shower since the fire inside Moria. This was more than 2 weeks ago and she had been unable to shower since.
Women and children are making this long journey to our centre because there are no other facilities like ours inside or near the new camp. But this journey will become more difficult as the weather becomes worse and there are less hours of daylight. Our centre on the doorstep of Moria is no longer the best location to serve them. With this in mind, we have secured the lease of another facility just a few minutes walk from the new camp.
We are now in the process of planning a phased approach in transitioning into this space from our current Centre. While we work through the next steps of what programs or projects we can run out of this new building, we are thankful to have the current centre to continue to best serve those who need it most.
Children across the globe have had limitations on their education this year due to COVID-19. Imagine having limited access to education for your entire life. Educational Development is one of our core pillars at All4Aid. Unfortunately, given all the recent events, we haven’t been able to resume classes at our All4Kids Learning Centre yet.
Despite that, this week one of our All4Kids students has been coming to our centre almost every day. She has been coming to shower and do laundry with her mother. While at the centre, she would work in her math workbook and read through English stories with our volunteers. Not only does she speak Farsi and English, she was also learning Greek in Moria before the fire began. She even started teaching one of our new volunteers some basic Farsi words this week! She’s only 10 years old.
This is just one of our many amazing students we’ve had the opportunity of getting to know and walk alongside. As children around the world start to go back to school this month, keep in mind the millions of children who cannot and those who continue to be displaced.
Today marks one week since the start of multiple fires that completely destroyed Moria Refugee Camp. Almost a week later, the majority of the residents of Moria are still living and sleeping on the streets. A new camp has been set up that currently houses about 800 of the 12,000+. It’s uncertain whether this camp will be a temporary or long-term solution.
While families and more vulnerable people are being housed inside this new camp, the majority of people are protesting this change. They want to be moved off the island completely. The situation on the island has been changing each day and it’s still unclear what is to come.
Our team on the ground has been able to work in our centre every day offering showers and laundry to hundreds of women and children. Today, an elderly woman in a wheelchair came to the centre for a shower. Unable to manage on her own, we closed our centre for 30 minutes so that her adult son, whom she depends on, could come inside. Under normal circumstances our centre is for women and small children only but we were more than happy to help in this way.
It’s difficult to see the devastation happening around us and not be able to do more. But we are thankful to be here and help in any way we can.
Last night brought even more destruction to Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos. After the initial fires were extinguished yesterday, a second fire was ignited. Even today the fires continue to burn what little remains of the main camp.
This morning our team tried to make their way to our centre which is located 100 m from the main entrance of the camp. However, they were denied access. Movement in the area has been restricted for everyone, including all NGOs. All of the roads surrounding the camp have police roadblocks to stop people from entering or leaving the perimeter.
The residents of Moria are still flooding the surrounding streets and parking lots with nowhere to go. Police presence has increased significantly in the last 24 hours and the Greek Army is reportedly distributing food and water where and when they can.
We are working with our partners to coordinate support, but the movement restrictions are limiting what we can do. We hope that tomorrow morning we will be allowed to resume the work at our centre.
As one of the only facilities where women and girls can safely take showers and do their laundry – as well as the largest and the closest facility to the camp – there are hundreds of people eagerly waiting outside our gate for us to open our doors. Please keep our team and the people we serve in your thoughts and prayers!
Photo by: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
Last night several fires broke out inside Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos, Greece. It is unclear what or who started the fires, but this comes after 35 positive COVID-19 cases were officially reported inside the camp. The governmental lockdown of the camp provoked violence and tension inside and around the camp last night which likely led to the fire.
Our centre was not directly affected by the fire. Our team of international and Greek workers are all safe. We spent a lot of time this morning trying to locate our community volunteers; these are ca. 20 women and girls who reside in Moria and serve alongside us as translators, teaching assistants, shower operators, seamstresses, etc. Only one of them is still unaccounted for.
The majority of the 12,000+ residents of Moria are now homeless. They are flooding the streets outside the camp and throughout the surrounding area with nowhere else to go. They have no easy access to water, food and proper shelter.
We are working together with local actors and long-term partners to assess the situation and coordinate a response to attend to these immediate urgent needs. We need your financial contributions and prayer support at this time: https://all4aid.org/give
Yesterday marked the first case of COVID-19 reported inside Moria Refugee Camp. While the infection rate and spread in Greece has remained relatively low, it was an inevitable outcome when so many people are living so closely together without the proper means to socially distance and sanitize. We are deeply saddened by this news and can only hope and pray that the population inside Moria stays safe and healthy.
As always, we want to remain in line with the Greek Government regulations as well as the WHO recommendations. We have taken new precautionary measures but we will still continue to offer our laundry and shower services inside our All4Women’s Community Centre.
None of us know what will happen as time goes on but we remain committed to serving the residents of Moria in any way we can as safely as possible.
For the last few months, we have been working alongside @eurorelief to provide families inside Moria with clothing when they first arrive to the camp. EuroRelief brings over-sized clothes from their warehouse to our All4Women Community Centre, where our seamstresses work on resizing them. When the clothing items have been cut and sewn, they are given back to EuroRelief to distribute.
We are grateful for this collaboration with @eurorelief and are thankful that we can take part in a small way to provide the families inside Moria with the basic items they may need.
On this World Humanitarian Day, we at All4Aid want to acknowledge all the aid workers around the world who risk their lives in humanitarian service to help those in crisis. This year, the already difficult work carried out by humanitarians has been made even more challenging by #Covid19.
We want to thank our long-term team members on the front-lines who have dedicated and committed themselves to aiding those who have had to flee their homes due to war, persecution or disaster.
At All4Aid, it’s an important distinction that we work WITH displaced people and not FOR them. At our All4Women Community Centre we have resident volunteers who live inside Moria and work alongside us to help facilitate our projects. One of these being our COVID-19 Response Initiative. Our talented seamstresses have been working hard to create masks according to @msfgreece standards for residents of Moria. We couldn’t do this without them!
A huge thank you to the European Baptist Federation for their funding to make this possible.
All4Aid’s vision: Displaced people attaining life in all its fullness!
By the end of 2019, there were 79.5 million people displaced worldwide – the equivalent of roughly 1% of the world’s population. In 2020, due to COVID-19, displaced people and refugees are at an even higher risk. This World Refugee Day, we want to raise awareness of these facts. It is our honour to work with and support the courageous people who are part of this 79.5 million. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to our vision both in Lesvos and in our future endeavours.
Our dream is to see all displaced people attain life in all its fullness. We would like to thank all of you, who have supported our work this far and extend an invitation to all who would like to become a part of what we do. If you would like to be part of what All4Aid is doing, you could consider to:
• check our social media channels and share our posts to raise awareness on the challenges refugees face;
• come and volunteer with us at Moria Refugee Camp, on Lesvos, Greece, (once travel restrictions change);
• make a donation to support the work we do.