Immigrants’ Tsunami “chocking” the Aegean islands: URGENCY for National Compliance to Ebola Protection Guidelines

Mytilini portOver 800 migrants intercepted crossing MediterraneanAegean ditch

A complete Guidelines’ index has been sent  since October 2014 by the Ministry of Health and the Greek Center for Disease Control (HCDCP), to all the authorities in charge, and the Greek Coastguard, by an updated guidance of preventive measures for Ebola and the Contagious Diseases, concerning the entry of illegal immigrants into the country.

According to what is proposed by the Greek CDC, -Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP)-, the Medical Control groups on charge for the immigrants’ medical screening, are required

  • to complete in detail the forms of the screened individuals,

by their travel history to West. Africa.

  • In case of Ebola suspected cases,

-the immigrants should enter a compulsory attendance period of 21 days,

  -while the team of doctors on Greece’s borders should send daily to Greek CDC a special form of “Daily Declaration of Persons entering Greece from the Ebola affected countries.”

But the number of illicit immigrants entering Greece continues to be out of control, as are the circumstances hosting them all over the entry points of the country, which means basically the Aegean islands.

Have a look on Greece’s immigrants reports published to the media on November 2014

Refugees’ Tsunami ‘chokes’ the islands,“Vima” newspaper

“From the beginning of 2014 until September 30, the number of those who entered  Greece illegally from Turkey by the sea, has reached the number of 29,894, an increase of 271% over the nine months last year. wrote on the first days of November “Vima” newspaper.

There is an impressive increase on the  number of arrivals of refugees and illicit immigrants” said the he UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Athens Mr. C. Tsarbopoulos, on his interview.  People are sleeping just in front of you at the ports, underfoot or on the balconies of police stations and detention facilities, which are able to accommodate 10 to 15 people but is overloaded by  70, each one at least“..

Most are refugees from Syria.The islands have been proved to be unable to handle the increased flow of recent months, as obvious to anyone.

“The checking and tracing proceedures of the newcomers,  (registration, identification, medical screening and referral to appropriate services) should be immediatly addressed on all the country’ s entry points” underlines since then the UNHigh Commissioner.

But small islands do not have any infrastructure, as the “vima” article successfully notes. “During the summer, as an accommodation place, the courtyards of schools and churches are used. During the winter, however, the cold and rain make it unbearable, but still for the immigrants this is the place”.

On Chios, Samos and Lesvos islands of the Aegean, where the detention centers exist , “the volume of the illicit immigrants’ populations exceed three to four times the centers’ capacity.Samos center hosts actually instead of 240 people, 900, “Mr. Tsarbopoulos said.

Tragic circumstances in Tilos
Only on Tilos, during the last three days ( November 2014), the number of illicit immigrants that reach the island was over 330 people, according to the mayor of the island Maria Kamma-Aliferis.

During the summer the immigrants used the courtyard of an elementary school, instead of a campus “Now they have to be transferred to the courtyard of a monastery. Water does not exist, it is carried by a tank. It has only a toilet, but no shower. We take the children at home to wash. Yesterday we had a baby 23 days. There are two rooms where the children sleep and rest in the open air , in sleeping bags which brought the UNHCR. Volunteers cook in large cauldrons which we usually use at festivals. We call for an organized space with capacity for 100 people, which will live for two-three days with dignity, with containers, toilets, showers, doctor and nurse “concludes Kamma lady.

Bottles of water for toilet
On Symi, while arriving at the port, tourists are confronted with refugees hanging like bunches from the balcony of the police station. They hold empty bottles of water which they use .for.. toilet

“Last year they arrived in Simi 2,700 illegal immigrants,” says Mayor. Av. Papakalodoukas. “There is only one boat of the Coast without radar and often a damaged machine. The summer 14,000 yachts and 500,000 tourists visited the island. The worst is that the island has only one doctor.

High Commissioner

The High Commissioner had urgently  stressed the need for a contingency plan ahead of winter.

  • “First, they need space for the short stay of refugees and migrants, as plots with container.
  • Second, we must strengthen the Coast Guard and the Police to procedures quickly to fleeing refugees from the islands.
  • Third, we must ensure the first medical examination and care of all those who suffer, which is a crucial requirement and constitutes society. And, fourthly, to put these people basic necessities, such as individual hygiene items, blankets, etc., “says. Tsarbopoulos.

All this is in the interests of local communities, because the refugees will arrive anyway, and will just stay in ports, roads and squares, without being checked medically.

Once they pass the first inspection, they all are making their way to Piraeus with the ferry.  On their hands they  hold  a memo expulsion of command to leave the country within 30 days . In case they are Syrians, they get a  a six-month suspension of deportation  which gives them the right to stay for six months .

          metanastes-plakakia3

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