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Greek Mainland Camps Report

Original document

Introduction

This report has been compiled by a mixed team of independent volunteers, members from informal groups focussed on refugee assistance and from smaller registered NGO’s.

We gathered initial information on camp locations from sources such as the Greece Response Map and UNHCR Sites in Greece Map though some map data was not up-to-date. We clarified this by talking to local residents and officials. We consider our report for camps east of Thessaloniki to be full and complete as of 14th April.

We compiled this information from a varying range of sources, as specified in each report, and made contact with volunteers at each location. We hope to use this network to keep this document updated.

We are happy to share the contact details we have collected on a case-by-case basis – please email requests to infopoint.gr.mainland@gmail.com and also to anton.zhyzhyn@gmail.com.

Text only version (for refugees with slow internet etc): http://bit.ly/greek-camp-report

This version compiled by:

Aris Vlahopoulos – United Rescues Aid, SAO

Jasmin Helbling – swisscross.help

Anton Zhyzhyn – CK Team Lesvos / Borderline Europe

Tereza Lyssiots – Independent volunteer

Previous contributions:

Charlotte Cheeseman – Better Days for Moria

Katie O’Neill – Better Days for Moria

Gabriel – Independent volunteer

Update log:

16th April – More reports added – total 15. Hara/BP shower situation clarified.

14th April – Eko, Hara/BP and all known locations east of Thessaloniki complete.

EKO Gas Station Polykastro: 11th April 2016 11:00

Full access to camp – able to observe and speak to many refugees and volunteer groups.

Initial information

  • Open, unofficial camp located at functioning gas station
  • Approx. 3,000 refugees
  • Mixture of UNHCR tents and smaller camping tents
  • Tents situated all around the gas station and line a busy main highway
  • UNHCR tent section more organised
  • Numerous volunteer groups operating

Population

  • Mixed population: Syrian, Iraqi & Afghani
  • Lots of families
  • Many pregnant women
  • Lots of women alone with children

Location/Physical characteristics

  • 40.9694955, 22.6194152
  • Located just off a major highway (but a reduced speed limit is in place now)
  • Smaller roads run throughout campsite
  • Combination of gas station and rest area
  • Some camping on grass, some on concrete
  • Surrounded by fields and some swamplands
  • Tents frequently set up across half of the highway, as a protest
  • 2-3km from Polykastro
  • People walking on the highway to Polykastro

Infrastructure

  • Showers:
  • Some cold shower units are in place but are not connected to water supply
  • Hot showers cost 2euro, from the gas station
  • Washing machines available for some cost
  • 40 portable toilets including two with wheelchair access
  • But, they are western-type sitting toilets so people prefer to go to the few inside the station as they are squatting
  • Gas station in charge of waste removal + cleaning of the site. Site is clean.
  • Food is provided by UNHCR & MSF
  • 3 meals a day
  • Refugees report that they are satisfied with the food situation; some are choosing to buy own
  • Substantial number of charging points
  • Most refugees do not like to drink water from the outdoor petrol station taps

Issues

  • Next to highway is unsafe, especially for the many children who play nearby
  • Some bonfires are being made near the open petrol station
  • Having to pay for showers
  • No soap seen at tapstand nearest to toilets
  • Refugees have no information
  • Medical care is not available 24hours
  • Many tents still of poor quality; many break when windy
  • Reports of inadequate drainage resulting in some standing water
  • Lines for food are long and some people don’t get enough
  • Lack of translators
  • Prices in petrol station are very high
  • Poorly managed distribution when volunteers show up, unannounced, with NFI to distribute
  • Fights occur occasionally & some volunteers have left due to feeling in danger

Needs

  • Updated information about people’s options
  • Make environment safer:
  • Low-rise fencing could stop children going onto the road
  • Educate people on risks of fires near petrol stations
  • Connect showers to water supply
  • Signage to inform refugees that tap water is potable

Already in place…

  • Nurture Project: have their own tent for breastfeeding, changing, feeding & washing babies, distribution of baby supplies. Staffed by 5 midwives and nurses
  • Some households are cooking food themselves
  • Lighthouse Relief: food and clothes distribution, and children’s recreation/education area
  • MSF: food & NFI distribution, including from a distribution tent
  • Medical cover from mobile MSF clinic and independent medical volunteers
  • UNHCR present, and are coordinating with MSF

Hara Hotel & BP Garage: 11th April 2016 13:00

Full access to look around and able to speak extensively with Northern Lights

Initial information

  • Open, unofficial camps located at a petrol station & hotel
  • 700 refugees at Hara and approximately 150 at BP
  • Shelter is mostly 2-4 person tents of poor quality
  • Women and children are sometimes allowed to sleep inside hotel lobby
  • Volunteer group Northern Lights present, MSF come often with a mobile clinic

Population

  • Syrian, Pakistani, Iraqis
  • Many families & children

Location/Physical characteristics

Infrastructure

  • Water supply:
  • One refugee reported no refugee-accessible water supply and that bottled water is used for drinking, bathing etc
  • there may be some open taps at BP however there are reports that landowner is actively unhappy with refugees using them
  • others still report that there is one outside tap available at Hara
  • 15th April: volunteers confirm free cold showers available 500m away
  • 21 toilets which seem to be emptied regularly
  • Site was fairly clean
  • Food provided by volunteer groups
  • Refugees report > 30 minute queuing times and that food is not highly nutritious
  • There is wireless internet but it is very slow
  • Phones can be charged inside restaurant

Issues

  • Lack of water for bathing & washing clothes
  • Refugees have no information available – wifi too slow for use
  • Highway – people crossing, children playing nearby

Needs

  • Increased provision of water:
  • Tapstand could be installed and connected to hotel water supply. This could be disassembled and removed in minutes. A meter could be fitted and a price per 1,000 litres agreed with landowner – water from municipal supply is typically several hundred times cheaper than bottled water.
  • If there is indeed a tap at Hara and this provides drinkable water, signage to inform refugees that the water is potable could also help.
  • Basic bathing facilities on-site
  • More information, especially on what ‘official’ camps are like. Northern Lights hope to create information posters/flyers soon.

Already in place

  • Northern Lights undertake a range of activities including distributions
  • MSF visit five times per week with a mobile clinic
  • Although an open camp, refugees report feeling fairly safe

Photo Credit: Nessim Stevenson

Idomeni

We visited this camp but consider it to be fully and consistently documented already, so we defer to existing information sources such as Information Point for Idomeni Volunteers.

 

Orestiada: 12th April 2016 12:20

Secure facility – no access granted. Information gathered from police officer on duty.

Initial information

  • Closed purpose-built detention facility
  • Opened many years ago
  • Appeared nearly empty, 10 people there
  • Capacity: 400
  • Permanent buildings supplemented by Isoboxes

Population

  • All Kurds, applied for asylum
  • All people here crossed the land/river border of Greece and Northern Turkey

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • Quite remote rural area near Greek/Turkey/Bulgaria border

Infrastructure

  • Specially built detention centre with EU funds
  • Basketball court
  • Guard reports hot water, wifi, phones allowed, daily cleaning
  • Male and female sleeping areas separated
  • Food catering seen

Needs

  • None observed

Already in place

  • Observed a lawyer freely entering the facility

Basketball court and watchtower

Main entrance

Chalkero: 12th April 2016 17:30

Access not granted by military however soldiers at gate were somewhat cooperative plus we were able to interview a young man at the gate through a translator.

Initial Information

  • Open military-run camp opened within last two days
  • Refugees here moved from recently closed Nea Karvali camp
  • 280-300 people
  • Current capacity: 350 (source: UNHCR)
  • Media and volunteers not easily allowed in – would likely require formal military permission
  • Nearest town is Nea Karvala, 5km
  • Army report UNHCR presence in mornings

Population

  • Mostly Syrian with some Iraqis
  • Children present

Location/Physical Characteristics

Infrastructure

  • No wifi
  • Army say hot showers available however refugee reports these are not working so only cold water is available
  • At least 8 toilet/shower cubicles seen from road
  • Refugees were drying clothes so washing clothes is possible somehow
  • Army claim there are translators on site
  • Army claim they have a doctor on-site but did not elaborate on availability

Issues

  • Snake found on first day
  • Nea Karvala had buildings with partitions, this camp has only tents shared with other families
  • Food served three times per day but portions are small
  • Overall, the refugee interviewed said he vastly preferred Nea Karvala

Needs

  • Additional privacy
  • Only army providing NFI’s so there is the possibility of gaps
  • past experience suggests that army don’t distribute shoes, clothes etc
  • Presence of other NGO’s could go some way to addressing this
  • Refugees report that food portions can be small
  • Again, past experience suggests army food in evening is typically cold

Already in place

  • UNHCR reportedly wrote down refugees’ phone numbers, believed to be for the purpose of assisting them in making an appointment to claim asylum
  • No other NGO’s or volunteer groups
  • Security so far OK
  • Army seem to be fairly nice towards refugees

Toilet or shower cubicles, seen from road

Entrance road to camp

Drama: 12th April 2016 19:00

Full access, police on-site and camp coordinator highly cooperative. Spoke to wide range of people through Arabic translator (including children, women and the elderly).

Initial information

  • Open volunteer-run camp
  • ~500 people
  • Current capacity: 500 (source: UNHCR)
  • 7km from Drama town

Population

  • Syrians and Iraqis
  • Even mix of men, women and children

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • 41.1715469360,24.068555831
  • Industrial area of Drama, bordering meadows
  • Large open warehouse/factory space, partitioned using hanging blankets

Infrastructure

  • Mixture of people sleeping on floor and on camping beds which are reportedly uncomfortable
  • Lunch and dinner from military, breakfast from volunteers
  • Hot showers but broken last two days
  • Many toilets, separated by sex. Good lighting.
  • Long sink including designated area for washing clothes
  • Women-only space
  • Medical cabin
  • No wifi
  • Many charging points
  • Designated prayer area
  • Breastfeeding area
  • Teaching area
  • Communal TV
  • Tea area

Issues

  • Men use women’s showers
  • Food
  • No refugees cooking own food
  • Lack of fruit & vegetables
  • All food cold
  • No variety
  • Limited milk supply
  • Children getting sick – several sources suspect malnutrition
  • Multiple sources reported impossibility of applying for asylum/EU reunification
  • Application must be made at Alexandroupolis, 180km away
  • Previous applicants report taking a train (4-5hrs, €10/person) plus paying a hotel for 10 nights in order to apply
  • No dentist
  • Some thieving (of mobile phones)
  • Some fighting during the night
  • Snakes
  • Inconsistent UNHCR presence – “sometimes they come but they do not help”
  • No official information available, even for volunteers

Already in place

  • School staffed by combination of local voluntary teachers and refugees
  • French, English, German, Mathematics, Greek…
  • Local volunteers highly active:
  • Non-food item distribution
  • Taxi service (eg to hospital)
  • Psychological support
  • Volunteer lawyer giving information
  • 2-3 hours per day medical cover (doctors including female)
  • Children’s entertainment (cinema etc)
  • Good procedures in place for medical emergencies
  • Excellent hygiene promotion (graphics and translated text encouraging handwashing etc)
  • Soap available

 

Overall we were deeply impressed by the dedicated efforts of the local volunteers.

Outdoor area showing sink and toilet/shower cabins

Toilet

Communal TV area

Typical bedroom

Parenesti – 13th April 2016 10:00

Information only from informal interview with guard at gate.

Initial information

  • Closed detention centre, opened since 2012 for “illegal immigrants”
  • Population size unknown but premises are expansive
  • Location: 41.2673301696,24.5065269470

Population

  • Only men, some Moroccans & Afghanis – reportedly no Syrians
  • Likely a holding centre for deportations

Miscellaneous

  • Guard claims there are books
  • There was psychological support for 6 months or so – but no longer
  • Concern that people are not allowed to walk around freely – no signs of life outside
  • Army commander did not respond to our request to speak by telephone
  • Refugees supposedly given clothes, sanitary items etc

Xanthi – 13th April 2016 12:00

Information gathered by talking to police and commander. We were allowed in to the administration building.

Initial information

  • Closed detention centre
  • 150 people

Population

  • Includes Moroccans & Pakistanis
  • Always 150 people – probably the capacity – but individuals move on regularly
  • Most have applied for asylum

Location/Physical Characteristics

Infrastructure

  • Outdoor garden
  • Billiard table
  • Reportedly a cleaning service available
  • Refugees clean their own rooms, cleaners hired for communal areas
  • Food from catering company
  • Refugees supposedly given clothes, sanitary items etc

Issues/needs

  • No translators
  • There was psychological support for 6 months or so – but no longer

Already in place

  • Commander reports access for lawyers
  • Overall this seemed to be as comfortable as a closed detention facility could be – refugees seen with iced coffee, police seem to be friendly.

 

Lagkadikia – 13th April 2016 19:25

This camp is presently under construction. We were able to speak to builders, police and also extensively to a UNHCR staff member.

Initial information

  • Pilot project – camp to be managed fully by UNHCR
  • Open facility
  • Site of former refugee camp for Pontian Greeks (1993-2000)
  • Ongoing heavy construction work
  • Planned for 800-1000 people, later down to ~650
  • Planning for integration of camp in to the existing local community

Population

  • Expected to be Syrians and some Iraqis who are applying for asylum

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • 40.6271667480, 23.247991561
  • ~1km south of small village Lagkadikia, population 650
  • 36km east of Thessaloniki
  • 35,000m2 site
  • Expansive open spaces
  • Long-abandoned buildings currently not inhabitable

Infrastructure

  • Initially accommodation in UNHCR tents
  • Later plans for container accommodation
  • Planning for large amount of space per person
  • Provision for residents to extend their own shelters
  • Food
  • Initially catered
  • One existing building to be renovated into public kitchen, distribution of ingredients tailored to dietary requirements, training in cooking
  • Long-term plan: cash transfers to residents (towards self-sufficiency)
  • Some existing rooms will be used as a school
  • One existing building to be renovated in to medical facility with:
  • A few beds
  • Separate examining rooms for male/female

Already in place

  • Initial plans for approximately 50 UNHCR staff, including translators
  • Medical NGO Médecins du Monde/Doctors of the World will work here
  • Psychological support planned
  • Security will be local police, site surrounded by a small fence

Groups who wish to work in this camp must apply formally through UNHCR Athens office. UNHCR report that a further 9 such camps are already planned and also that a further 11 similar sites would eventually be established – all in Northern Greece. There is a similar project running in the South/Central region.

UNHCR plan to integrate camp residents with the local community.

Giannitsa: 14th April 2016 19:00

Spoke to friendly police however not granted access in to the camp. Interviewed one adult male resident (via translator) at the gate and UNHCR staff member by phone.

Initial information

  • Open facility. Residents show a card to enter; volunteers require UNHCR recommendation to gain approval from Ministry of Defence
  • Military-controlled, police at gate
  • Located on old factory premises
  • 600-700 residents
  • Mostly army tents with new big UNHCR tents

Population

  • Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghani
  • Lots of families, 50% men
  • Many came from Idomeni

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • 40.7647399902,22.4471416473
  • Adjacent to busy main road, small perimeter fence
  • Appeared clean (improved since last visit)
  • 3km from Giannitsa town

Infrastructure

  • 28 toilets, 15 showers (Source: UNHCR 30th March)
  • Wifi coming (UNHCR)
  • Food now catered (previously army) – significant improvement
  • New – hot water
  • New – IKEA-type houses
  • Some charging points
  • UNHCR claim 75, resident reports ‘few’

Issues

  • Snakes and mosquitoes
  • Boredom
  • “people go to town in the day, unbearable here”
  • Observed residents hitchhiking
  • No TV
  • Few residents cook food themselves

Needs

  • Entertainment/activities
  • Transport to town

Already in place

  • UNHCR presence
  • Metadrasis – translator
  • Resident knew border was closed and was unable to Skype for asylum appointment
  • Security good – police act on resident reports of crime
  • Volunteers teaching English

 

Cherso: 14th April 2016 13:30

Granted full access to camp. Observed all areas and spoke with a wide cross-section of the population, NGO’s and officials.

Initial information

  • Open facility controlled by military. Control at gate.
  • Groups require UNHCR recommendation to gain approval from Ministry of Defence to work.
  • 2,500 residents according to several on-site NGO sources
  • 3,520 residents according to UNHCR (30th march)
  • Tents – mostly army, some UNHCR

Population

  • Syrian/Iraqi
  • Many families/children
  • Most here for 6 weeks

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • 2km from Cherso village (population 650)
  • Surrounded by fields, farmlands and swamplands
  • Less crowded than on previous visit
  • Perimeter fence now completed
  • Cleaner than on previous visit

Infrastructure

  • Tents mostly with shading
  • ~30 toilets, 5 showers with very limited hot water supply from single solar heater
  • UNHCR report 60 toilets, 30 showers and 15 showers with hot water – certainly incorrect
  • Water
  • Improvised tap-stands around perimeter. Very busy.
  • Same tap-stands used for drinking water and clothes washing
  • No bottled water.
  • 2/3rd of camp now has floodlighting. No lights inside tents.
  • After Green Helmets’ project, all army tents have flooring of wooden pallets. Newer UNHCR tents without.
  • Tents numbered
  • Tent with charging point
  • Enough food
  • acceptable quality (now catering)
  • many cooking food themselves
  • some buying own food
  • One children’s tent (Save the Children) plus outdoor children’s play area under construction
  • Woman-friendly space planned (by IRC)
  • Wifi being installed

Issues

  • Drainage extremely poor to non-existent. All tap stands and the showers surrounded by standing water. Residents have to stand in water/mud to collect water/wash clothes.
  • Difficult environment for strollers and those with impaired mobility
  • Road surfaces consist of coarse gravel
  • Muddy ground due to drainage
  • No disabled toilets or showers
  • Mosquitoes and snakes
  • Red Cross and residents report many skin diseases/infections
  • Some fighting

Needs

  • Water containers
  • School
  • Mosquito nets, mosquito repellents?
  • Hats/caps/sunscreen, more shadow nets?
  • Consistent soap provision at tap stands
  • More tap stands/sinks/washing basins
  • Tea tent
  • Designated social area

Already in place

  • German and Finnish Red Cross providing medical care 8am-6pm
  • Public ambulance for emergencies
  • IRC have 13 isobox shower units on site – not yet installed
  • IRC installing septic tanks
  • Norwegian Refugee Council arrived two days ago with a team
  • Save the Children on-site
  • UNHCR on site with translator
  • Clothes/shoes OK for the moment
  • Generally many more NGO’s/groups present than on previous visit

Toilet block with standing water – contaminated?

One water point – residents report nearly unusable due to low pressure

Snake information poster

The five showers, at north side of camp. Again, drainage problem.

 

Nea Kavala (Polykastro): 14th April 17:20

Denied entry by army who refused to give information and were somewhat hostile. Many refugees came in and out of the camp: we accompanied ~40 teenage to middle-aged male residents with a translator to a football ground and also spoke to some families in broken English.

Initial information

  • Strictly military-controlled open camp  – refugees show card to enter
  • ~4000 people (UNHCR report)
  • Army tents arranged in rows
  • Save the Children, German Red Cross,UNHCR present.
  • Volunteer group A Drop in the Ocean have access

Population

  • Syrian, Iraqi
  • 20% men, 40% women, 40% children (UNHCR report)

Location/Physical Characteristics

  • 40.99058914,22.624959945
  • 2-3km from Polykastro, near Lidl
  • Infrastructure
  • Children’s play area now open
  • 60 toilets, 30 showers
  • UNHCR claim 15 with hot water, residents report no hot water
  • 2,800 beds donated and on their way on 28th March; current status unknown
  • Food
  • cold
  • Little fresh fruit/vegetables
  • Army cleans bathrooms and picks up rubbish
  • Internet since last week, very slow

Issues

  • No school/education
  • One toilet per 65 residents, one shower per ~130 residents – far short of minimum humanitarian standards
  • Little firewood
  • used to heat water for bathing so none available for cooking food
  • some are cutting down trees in surrounding area for wood
  • Dropped at one side of the camp at 3-4am so unequitable distribution
  • Army distributions disorganised/chaotic
  • Clothing distribution can involve just dumping clothes in a pile
  • Extensive claims that army video “everything”, especially chaotic scenes, possibly on personal mobile phones
  • Theft of mobile phones

Already in place

  • Samaritan’s Purse were present on 28th March working on sanitation. No update.

 

Alexandria 15th April 2016 12:15

We gained access to camp, toured with a senior volunteer and then also spoke with groups of males, a mother with children and to the army.

Initial information

Open military controlled camp

Opened about ~4th April, 11 days ago

Capacity 764 – just reached. Not much room for more expansion

Ongoing measles outbreak – no new cases in 4 days but some still ill

Location/Physical Characteristics

40.6356239318,22.4545669555

On site of ex-military camp

Old buildings across the site, some now being renovated

Population

Mostly families

Iraqi, Syrian, a few Afghan

Infrastructure

  • Registration:
  • Very detailed e.g recording clothing and shoe sizes
  • Army provide these details to volunteers who can then order/distribute exactly what is required
  • ‘Ration card’ system to ensure each individual receives same level of service – both for food and all NFI
  • Long sink with ~15 taps in middle of camp. Residents drink tap water.
  • No hot water
  • Army food
  • 3 meals distributed together once per day
  • Cold
  • Volunteers provide fruit when able (most days)
  • Free shop run by volunteers (see photo)
  • Shop opening times divided by tent (e.g “tent 1-50 at 10am, 51-100 at 10:45am etc”)
  • Stocks hygiene/sanitary items, snacks, clothes, long-life milk
  • Showers – separate showering times for men and women
  • One family per tent
  • Tents numbered
  • Camping beds with mattresses
  • Army very kind
  • Volunteers say they often take a collection and buy chocolate etc for children
  • One male resident said relationship with army/officials “very very good”
  • No wifi

Issues

  • Mosquitoes – bites taking up excessive doctor time
  • Particularly significant snake problem
  • Hot water installation has been delayed a few times – residents awaiting eagerly
  • Little lighting
  • Toilets being cleaned twice per day though one report they are still unclean
  • Residents not allowed to make fires – cannot currently cook for themselves and would like to
  • Only one hot meal distributed since opening

Needs

  • Nurses and doctors – longer term (2 weeks plus), self-funding. Medicines will be provided.
  • Transportation – hospital 45km away
  • Ongoing need for baby food, milk and milk bottles (only volunteers paying for this now)

Already in place

  • 2 full time camp managers on the way
  • Excellent cooperation from army/officials
  • IRC and InterSOS just arrived
  • Army doctor 9am-12noon
  • Funding secured and work about to start on renovating abandoned buildings to include:
  • Communal kitchen
  • Social area
  • Resident-run shops
  • Barber shop
  • Hairdresser
  • Beauty salon
  • One other
  • School
  • Toilet and shower building
  • These are all awaiting sign-off by Ministry of Immigration in Athens
  • Children’s playground planned
  • Wifi installation planned
  • Mosquito nets on the way
  • Charging stations (busy)
  • A few kettles – one per tent now ordered
  • Volunteer reports UNHCR information sessions three times per week however residents interviewed were not well informed about asylum options etc

The camp’s free shop being restocked by a volunteer

Nea Chrani Municipal Stadium (Pieria): 15th April 2016 18:00

We interviewed officials and a reasonable cross-section of the population who came to speak to us outside the administrative building, where we could see all the tents. We were not permitted to enter the camping area.

Initial information

  • Public stadium
  • 310 people
  • Opened March 25th
  • Military controlled, police present
  • Previous plan to transfer all residents to Petra
  • Was scheduled to be closed on 15th April but been now given a four day extension
  • Report that UNHCR told volunteers that they now expect site to be active until August
  • 75 tents, without flooring

Location/Physical Characteristics

 

Population

  • 250 Syrians, 60 Iraqis
  • 110 are children
  • Some pregnant women

 

Infrastructure

  • Food from catering, including hot food. Supplemented by volunteers.
  • ~9 showers segregated by sex with three solar water heaters
  • Communal tents:
  • Women’s tent
  • Men’s social tent (coffee shop)
  • Children’s tent and outdoor play area; toys given by local volunteers
  • TV
  • No wifi

 

Issues

  • Feeling of lack of support from municipality
  • Not helping with sewage issue
  • Scabies widely reported
  • Medical personnel no longer on site

 

Needs

  • Medical staff

 

Already in place

  • Local volunteers seem to be very active
  • UNHCR comes once a week (so once or twice so far)
  • Information about taking bus to nearest town
  • Good relationship between volunteers, officials and residents

Showers

Diavata 15th April 2016 09:00

We gained access to camp, allowing us to talk to a fair cross-section of residents, including through a translator. By chance, we didn’t speak to children.

Initial information

  • Open facility but 10pm curfew
  • Police control at entrance, some military presence
  • 2,040 residents

Population

  • Many Iraqi & Syrian; also Palestinian, Afghan, Kurdi, Iranian
  • 90% speak Arabic
  • Most in process of asylum etc

Location/Physical characteristics

  • Located in an industrial area, former military base
  • Old army buildings throughout campsite
  • Supermarket 15mins walk away, local market every Wednesday
  • Clean and well organised

Infrastructure

  • 53 toilets counted including several with wheelchair access
  • Adequate showers but hot water very limited
  • Lighting seems good
  • Housing – 400 units total
  • Approximately ¾ humanitarian tents (UNHCR, UKAID, possibly army), ¼ IKEA-type houses
  • ‘Mixed’ neighbourhoods (not an Iraqi area, afghan area, etc)
  • Significant number of charging points
  • Two canteens on-site
  • Food
  • Catering, 3x per day including vegetables
  • Breakfast included milk, tea, juice croissant and fruit
  • Clinic on-site, three rooms, currently 24h opening

 

Issues

  • No wifi
  • Snakes
  • Many charging points are outdoors and unsheltered so would be unsafe in rain
  • Some residents preferred tents over IKEA-type houses in winter and summer as these stay at a more comfortable temperature
  • Little space between tents, which are arranged in rows
  • One report that distributed clothing was sometimes very worn/with holes
  • Toilets cleaned with a hose which seems to result in some water around the toilets

Needs

  • Upgrade of hot water provision
  • Ingredient distribution to allow refugees to cook for themselves?

Already in place

  • Medecins Du Monde, Hellenic Red Cross, WAHA and Praksis operating clinic
  • Psychological support
  • Female doctors
  • Well stocked, each org has own cabinet
  • Sanitary items distributed each day
  • Women and children space planned
  • Active facilitation of asylum applications
  • Free bus available to asylum office, appointment days known far in advance
  • Language lessons (English, Greek)
  • Refugees can get involved in voluntary work if they wish
  • Private cleaning company daily
  • Translators on-site
  • No crime reported
  • Deep respect between residents, officials, NGO workers etc
  • “Honestly I’d rate this camp five stars” – elderly male resident

Veria (Armatolou Kokkinou): 15th April 2016 17:00

Gained access to the premises but not permitted to enter any residents’ accommodation. We spoke primarily to local volunteers, as well as a few residents through a translator.

 

Initial information

  • Open military camp
  • 400 people – at capacity
  • Opened ~20th April
  • Accommodation is in houses – no tents

 

Location/Physical Characteristics

 

Population

  • 10 single males
  • Otherwise all families

 

Infrastructure

  • Squatting toilet cubicles outside; now toilets inside buildings also operational
  • Tap water non-potable, bottled water distributed
  • Army cooks food
  • Observed a relaxed food distribution, including fruit, with a very small queue.
  • Several meals distributed at once in containers residents take home
  • Small stock of non-food items and a “request list” system
  • Medical examination room
  • Limited hot water – single solar heater
  • No wifi

 

Issues

  • Gynaecological medical cases are referred to Edessa – 50km
  • Outside toilets not segregated by sex

 

Needs

  • A few medical gaps – being addressed
  • Connection of sewers to municipal system required and planned
  • Requested donations:
  • Tableware, sheets, pillows welcome
  • Pans and pots eventually to allow residents to cook
  • A projector (for a social space)

 

Already in place

  • Volunteers split themselves in to three types of shifts
  • Warehouse/distribution
  • Medical
  • Activities
  • art etc
  • mostly at weekends
  • three residents also volunteering
  • Medical provision:
  • Army doctors during the morning – male
  • Volunteer doctors including female some afternoons
  • Dental         cases sent both to public and private dentists
  • Midwife hired for night time
  • Scabies-free
  • Plans to start a nursery
  • Translators on site
  • Distributions on an organised ration card/list system
  • Plans to support residents to cook for themselves in future
  • Plans to move residents in to housing in nearby community – one family already moved
  • Residents overall highly satisfied

Petra Olympou: 16th April 2016 10:45

Gained access. We toured with one young adult female resident who also translated for others. A ‘focus group’ type discussion was undertaken in another family’s tent with a middle-aged male and his family; this individual gave his views and was also asked to translate some questions to others in the room including children. Finally, we spoke to the site’s army commander.

 

Initial information

  • Open, military-run camp
  • 1,000 people, capacity: 1,100
  • Accommodation: tents

Population

  • Iraqi & Syrian
  • All Yazidi
  • All encountered came from Idomeni
  • No fighting, distributions reportedly calm

Location/Physical characteristics

 

Infrastructure

  • Standard military canvas tents
  • on concrete or gravel
  • no flooring (just tarpaulin)
  •                     observed army distribution of mattresses
  • Food
  • Army food distributed 3x per day
  • Report of queues (30mins-2hr) for each meal
  • Limited fruit
  • No baby food
  • ‘Ration-card’ type system in place
  • Residents don’t drink tap water
  • One report that only 1 litre bottle distributed at lunch time
  • another said they “receive enough”
  • Unsure whether residents dislike tap water or have been told it’s not potable (“No drinking”)
  • ~ 15 showers
  • Cold
  • Women-only showers with small private outdoor changing area but adjacent to other showers
  • 10 toilets southeast side, 20 northwest
  • Observed cleaning – residents say once per day
  • All toilets western style
  • Evidence of unsuccessful attempts to squat over these
  • High toilet seat – inaccessible for children, who use the floor
  • Most were dirty and with flies
  • No disabled provision
  • Not split by gender
  • No wifi
  • Small market stall run by resident
  • Charging points in a building 8am-10pm, too few

 

Issues

  • Medical
  • One male army doctor (say residents)
  • “He only has two medicines” and “they will not take us to hospital”
  • No medical provision at night
  • Snakes, Scorpions
  • Children feel unsafe at night
  • Scared of snakes/scorpions
  • No lighting, even at toilets

 

Needs

  • Multiple residents reported not enough food & food not nutritious
  • Competent and thorough assessment of medical provision
  • Requested by middle-aged male: female doctor/gynaecologist, paediatrician
  • School & kids activities
  • Flooring for tents
  • Lighting – little installed, not all working
  • Improved shower drainage (tapstands were a little better)
  • Hot water
  • Summer shoes
  • Soap for washing clothes
  • Cooking utensils/facilities/firewood

 

 

Already in place

  • CYCI – distributions
  • Army have one translator
  • Good relationship between residents and army
  • Bus to Katerini, once per day – ‎€2.40
  • Army commanders: “If anyone wants to come here and help [distribute etc], I have no problem with that. Come to me, show me your [NGO] papers and tell me what space you need, I give you it, no problem.”
  • We have name of army commander, please contact us if this is helpful for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Residents appear to be cutting down surrounding forest in order to heat water for bathing

Ktima Irakli 16th April 2016 13:00

Gained access to camp and spoke to a reasonable range of English-speaking residents and military official.

Initial information

  • Open, military run camp
  • Population: 190
  • Accommodation in tents behind a hotel
  • Easily access to camp
  • No/few volunteers

 

Population

  • 60% Syrian, 40% Iraqi/Kurdi
  • One blind man, one man in wheelchair

 

Location/Physical characteristics

Infrastructure

  • Numbered tents
  • Small medical room
  • Food from catering
  • 3 toilet cubicles outside plus two showers
  • More toilets and shower with hot water inside (accessible to refugees)
  • Residents drink tap water
  • Communal areas with
  • barbeque grill
  • kettle
  • charging stations
  • playground
  • More charging stations inside
  • Wifi
  • TV

Issues

  • Only one military official and the hotel owner on-site during visit

 

Needs

  • Some volunteer groups (note: small camp)
  • Requests for shampoo, tea, mattresses/blankets, oil, baby food/milk, sunscreen, solar lights for tents and most of all sanitary pads
  • Female child: limited toys/games/entertainment here
  • School

 

Already in place

  • Bus to Katerini, once per day – ‎€1.80
  • Police stop fights, security OK
  • Irregular UNHCR presence
  • Doctors from public hospital volunteer after their shift
  • Construction work (water & sanitation?) in progress
  • No snakes here yet
  • Military say they intend to pay for vector (insect) control
  • Local owner of hotel runs a free shop of donated items
  • Good relationship with hotel owners

 

Adult male resident: Ktima Irakli worse than Eko Polykastro as much less support from NGO’s/ and volunteers here

Nireas Camping 16th April 2016 16:30

Granted access and spoke to army, police, a group of females through translator, a teenage boy  and an older woman with her husband.

Initial information

  • Open facility
  • Private land rented by Ministry of Defence, army on-site
  • Approx. 360 refugees, expecting 80 more today (16th April) – would be over capacity
  • Opened ~22nd March

Population

  • Mixed Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani, Iranian, Kurdi

 

Location/Physical characteristics

 

Infrastructure

  • Canvas tents and holiday house rooms
  • Smaller families share a tent
  • No flooring – on grass and rocks
  • Sleeping bags, no mattresses
  • One communal cooking stove with two gas rings
  • Not enough – causes conflict
  • One shower block for men, one for women
  • Western sitting toilets – “we have enough”
  • Lights throughout campsite, not all operational
  • Food
  • Used to be army – complaints
  • Now catering 3x a day – good
  • Fruit
  • Residents mostly drink tap water
  • No dedicated clothes washing sink/facility
  • Wifi
  • Showers – hot water broken “last three days”
  • Charging points

 

Issues

  • Residents worried about children
  • “they play with everything” and there are many dangers around
  • river nearby – partially fenced off but fence on bridge over the water is completely broken, even an adult could slip through
  • river currently dirty, standing water
  • Residents had a “peaceful protest” but police threatened to arrest if another protest held
  • Electrical equipment with live bare metal at child height (cover(s) missing, see photo)
  • Some residents have run wires to their tent (for light)
  • Mosquitoes
  • Snakes/scorpions
  • Some tensions between landowner and refugees

Needs

  • Medical assessment and support
  • Army says ambulance does not come.
  • Army calls taxis, paid by patients (30 euros each way).
  • No translators at hospital.
  • Residents report army doctor rarely gives medicine
  • Doctor comes “once or twice a week”
  • One pre-teen male with large skin rash “for a week”, mother worried but no doctor available
  • Flooring for tents or mattresses
  • Lights for tents
  • Mosquito nets/repellent

 

 

Already in place

  • No NGO presence – IRC may be coming
  • UNHCR but they do not come in
  • Children have bicycles
  • Baby food and milk available
  • Military distributing clothes (from mini market)
  • Two residents teaching languages
  • “The service is good”

Electrical box at northwest of camp at child eye-level with live bare metal (highlighted)

Clothes washing

Flimsy fencing which comes away from the bridge deck/floor

Communal cooking area

Orfeas Hotel: 16th April 18:00

We spent a short time in the lobby chatting to residents and Praksis social workers.

 

Initial information

  • 164 residents
  • UNHCR rents the hotel
  • Each family in hotel room
  • ~25 recently moved to houses in Athens

 

Population

  • Only Syrians encountered
  • All applied for asylum and most have had interviews

 

Location/Physical characteristics

 

Infrastructure

  • All hotel facilities
  • Wifi
  • Hotel food – hot, varied, nutritious, includes fruit, flavoursome
  • Drink tap water but don’t like it

 

Issues

  • None

Needs

  • None

Already in place

  • Praksis social workers living on site
  • Receive baby food and nappies
  • Doctor once a week
  • Plans to move all residents to housing and possibly close

Larisa-Koutsochero: 16th April 2016 19:50

Granted access with Arabic translator so spoke to extremely wide cross section of Syrians. However vast majority of camp was Afghan. We spoke to one teenage/young adult Afghan male (in English) and he translated for a few others. We spoke to army and also by phone to Medecin Du Monde camp coordinator.

Initial information

  • 987 residents
  • In tents
  • Capacity 2,000 with only ~ ½ of site occupied
  • 9pm curfew

 

Population

  • ~80% Afghani, 20% Syrian, two Iraqi families
  • None/few have registered for asylum
  • Residents report ministry of Defence visited and said they plan to register everyone within two week
  • UNHCR came once and said registration will start next a month (May)

 

Location/Physical characteristics

Infrastructure

  • Standard military tents + 3 big standard UNHCR tents
  • No floors
  • Camping beds
  • Unsure if mattresses?
  • Charging stations
  • Wifi – very busy, only in one small place, creates tension
  • Payphone area but only for national numbers
  • Water in taps was examined by doctor and residents now drink it
  • Food
  • Changed recently to catering
  • Hot food
  • Residents more satisfied
  • Oranges, milk
  • “The food now is good”
  • Some buying food and self-cooking
  • Many toilets
  • Observed working lighting
  • Many bins

Issues

  • Security
  • Some ethnic tensions
  • Multiple reports of significant alcohol consumption on site
  • Young adult Syrian woman reported feeling unsafe at night:
  • Many men around, often drinking
  • Female friend assaulted recently
  • “If we want to go to the toilet, we have to ask two men to come with us for security”
  • Toilets/showers not split by gender (mentioned without prompting)
  • Reports of one “huge fight”, officials did not intervene, community leaders defused
  • Very hot/dry during the day, extremely dusty when windy

 

  • Toilets
  • Western-style
  • Syrians OK with this, Afghan requested squatting toilet
  • Some children need help from parents to use
  • Lots of snakes, some scorpions
  • Medics report cases of parasites
  • Syrian woman reports (local?) volunteers wearing culturally insensitive clothing (“half naked”) and that they excessively video their work (mostly playing with children)
  • Report of a tent fire that residents had to extinguish themselves

 

Needs

  • Women need sanitary products, underwear, hijab
  • No distribution of soap, shampoo, toilet paper (residents buy own)
  • Lights in tents
  • School & other activities
  • Summer clothing
  • More charging points
  • Fire points and procedures

 

Already in place

  • Medical care
  • MDM, Hellenic Red Cross and army doctors on site
  • MDM/Hellenic Red Cross daytime
  • Army doctors at night
  • MDM coordinating with Ministry of Health
  • Volunteer doctors from local hospital
  • Baby food and pampers
  • Prayer area
  • Police/army generally friendly with occasional exceptions
  • UNHCR came “for the first time” recently

 

 

Volos 17th April 11:15

We were not allowed to pass the police checkpoint however we spoke to a friendly police officer who had never been inside the building where residents sleep. After this, we found a group of teenage Syrian males walking nearby, who we spoke to extensively through a translator.

Initial information

  • Open facility controlled by military and guarded by police
  • 200 residents inside a building
  • Opened ~13th April (4 days)

 

Population

  • Syrian families
  • ~80 children

Location/Physical characteristics

  • Located inside former car shop
  • Industrial area
  • ~20km from Volos

 

Infrastructure

  • Food from military
  • Police guard indicated plans for catering company to start tomorrow
  • Residents told us everyone sleeps in one room divided in to three section
  • Sleeping on on blankets on the floor
  • Police guard thought the room was divided in to family units
  • Showers with hot water in isoboxes
  • Men and women on alternate days
  • Toilets –  ~4 male, ~4 female cubicles
  • Tap water signposted as not drinkable
  • One bottle per day with food
  • Residents are given more on request –  get enough

 

Issues

  • Police checkpoint keeps ‘ration cards’ whenever someone leaves the facility, meaning their family/friends cannot collect their food on their behalf, for when they return
  • No bus stop nearby
  • Some walk 2hrs to shops etc
  • Accommodation
  • Families next to strangers, men
  • Little privacy
  • Medical care
  • Guard indicated 24/7 medical care available with male & female doctors
  • Teenagers said the medical cover was intermittent even in the day time
  • Snakes
  • No wifi anywhere in the area

 

Needs

  • Food – teenagers were encountered picking food from bushes
  • Clothes especially underwear – the teenagers had only the clothes they were wearing
  • Reportedly none distributed in camp yet
  • Mattresses/sleeping mats
  • Transport – nearest town appears to be 20km away
  • Wifi – none in surrounding area
  • Hygiene items – soap, shampoo
  • Toilet paper was in place but finished a few days ago

 

Already in place

  • Police said some local volunteers playing with children etc
  • Relationship with military is OK
  • Teenagers felt safe
  • Teenagers said UNICEF came and said they would start registering residents for asylum etc
  • Police said UNHCR came but teenagers said they haven’t, after being shown UNHCR logo

 

Fthiotida (Thermopiles) 17th April 2016 15:50

We spoke to a group of mostly young adult males outside through a translator and to the government staff managing the camp.

 

Initial information

  • Open facility in a spa hotel, run by public sector (Greek govt)
  • 300 people in the hotel rooms – but beds observed in use in corridors too
  • Opened in January

 

Population

  • Nearly all Syrians
  • Mostly families – 100 children

 

Location/Physical characteristics

 

Infrastructure

  • Hotel stuff – tap water drinkable, hot showers, wifi
  • Plans to use a 2nd building to house another 300 within next two weeks
  • Food
  • Army comes only to distribute food
  • Residents say not enough
  • Little/no fruit
  • All food cold
  • No baby milk
  • NFI’s
  • Available
  • limited supplies
  • hard to access
  • Hotel staff claim 24/7 nurses
  • Residents say nurses leave at night
  • Management claim they can call hospital ambulance and they also have a driver to transport people to hospital. Plans to hire a doctor (already looking).
  • Residents say it is very difficult to be taken to hospital

 

Issues

  • Security – private security company hired by government
  • Some security issues reported anyway
  • Management and residents report that no donations are accepted at the site
  • Residents claim management turn away volunteers with needed items
  • Management claim they cannot accept food items and that they redirect NFI donations to the office of the municipality
  • Tensions between residents and camp management
  • Little/no NGO presence
  • Residents say we were first group in 6 weeks to come with a translator and talk to them
  • Some NGO’s came once or twice but only spoke to camp management
  • Intermittent smell of sulfur from hot spring nearby

 

Needs

  • Thorough assessment of what support is needed, especially with input from residents
  • Hygiene/sanitary products
  • Tea, milk, sugar
  • Baby milk
  • Mosquito repellent – very limited distribution currently

 

Already in place

  • Management say local nurse taking care of children, someone teaching English
  • Resident teacher observed – painting with children
  • UNHCR paid one visit in last two months (management).
  • Residents report they came twice and didn’t bring translators, spoke only to management and then left.

 

Painting/art activities

Ritsona 17th April 2016 19:00

We accessed the camp and spoke with an extensive cross-section including women with children, a midwife, various volunteers, a group of men and women in wheelchairs and an elderly man.

Initial information

  • 800-900 people, appeared near capacity
  • Accommodation in tents
  • Opened 13th March

 

Population

  • Syrians, Iraqi, Afghani
  • Many children

 

Location/Physical Characteristics

 

Infrastructure

  • Tents
  • No flooring
  • Most sleep on blankets, some military/camping beds which are “uncomfortable”, a few thin mattresses
  • Outside lighting at most of site
  • Possibly does not cover all sleeping areas?
  • No internet/wifi
  • Food
  • Catering, hot everyday
  • Newly introduced ration card system
  • Some special provisions e.g for pregnant women
  • NFI’s – seem to be reasonably covered
  • Water brought in by tanker
  • Tap water marked as non-potable
  • Bottled water – routinely 1.5 litres/person/day including for babies
  • “we get enough”
  • Sometimes water runs out in evening and is only refilled around mid-day
  • Showers
  • 4 hot but 1-2 of these not working
  • ~10 in total.
  • No disabled provision. Man in wheelchair showers with bottled water in toilet cubicle.
  • ~25 toilets at central concreted area
  • Separate male/female toilets in the same space
  • No toilet paper in cubicles – stocked daily but goes missing
  • One disabled toilet
  • Big tent near entrance with:
  • charging station
  • Barber
  • TV
  • School
  • leftover food (for taking)
  • Two gas stoves in use by resident
  • Women’s space
  • next to medical tent
  • midwives present
  • distribution of sanitary items etc
  • Medical clinic (Red Cross) – 10am-2pm, 4pm-7pm

 

Issues

  • Somewhat dirty – litter
  • Some tension over lack of showers
  • Man in wheelchair reports boredom and thinks this may cause tensions in future
  • Hard for wheelchairs to access non-concreted areas between tents
  • Women and children can feel unsafe at night
  • Camp in wooded area
  • Reports of wolf noises
  • Snakes and spiders
  • Mosquitoes
  • Some standing water e.g at showers
  • Tents quite close together and residents make fires – possible fire risk. Unsure if procedures in place.

 

Needs

  • Elderly male Syrian requested Arabic-style toilets
  • Volunteers looking for skilled breastfeeding support – have contact details, please ask
  • Volunteers for cleaning/tidying and supplies
  • Women requested:
  • Need underwear, long blouses/skirts (summer-wear), hijabs, deodorant
  • Would like to cook themselves – currently have to buy ingredients to do this
  • Lighting inside tents
  • More consistent education provision – schooling irregular & can be brief classes
  • Potable water supply – chlorination of water tankered in?

 

 

 

Already in place

  • Hellenic and Spanish Red Cross
  • Lighthouse Relief (distribution)
  • Many local volunteers
  • Relationships between ethnicities, with volunteers and with officials – all good
  • UNHCR on-site fairly regularly
  • Bus to town – 2.50 each way
  • Reports plentiful doctors in daytime, with translators.
  • Prayer area
  • Volunteer plans to create a restaurant

Women’s space

Tents

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