For years, even the most basic life essentials have been neglected on the Greek islands. MSF and other nongovernmental organizations have been continuously forced to step in to provide crucial services, from health care to water. From October 2019 to May 2021, MSF teams trucked in over 11 million gallons of clean water for people in the over-crowded Vathy hotspot on Samos where the water is unsafe to drink.
“Despite claiming to change for the better, the EU and the Greek government are spending millions of Euros to standardize and intensify policies that have already done so much harm,” says Iorgos Karagiannis, MSF head of mission in Greece.
The EU and the Greek Government are exacerbating the crisis by planning new multi-purpose reception and identification centers (MPRICs) in remote locations on the Greek islands. One of these restrictive centers is already being built on Samos and may be operational in June 2021.
“Shockingly, Lesvos’s Moria hotspot, which was not only dysfunctional but deadly, is now the blueprint for a new prison-like center on Samos,” said Karagiannis. “The new facility is in a remote, exposed area of the island and will hold people in shipping containers, surrounded by barbed wire, with controlled entry and exit. This cannot be sold as an improvement in people’s living conditions. Instead, it will continue to cause a degradation in people’s mental health, a further protection crisis, and will make the suffering of those trapped on the Greek islands even more invisible.”
“It is not too late for compassion and common sense,” said Mussa. “The EU and its member states should end polices of containment and ensure people arriving in Europe have access to urgent assistance, and facilitate access to protection, relocation to safe reception, and integration in communities across Europe.”