On Wednesday October 3rd 2018 over 200 refugees arrived on Samos.
On Thursday, a Palestinian friend living in one of the containers inside the camp was told he had to leave to make space for new arrivals who had more need for his place.
Of course he asked where do I go.
To the forest around the camp, he was told.
In what do I sleep?
A tent came the reply.
You must go and buy one.
On Friday we heard that the Chinese shops which sell small summer style tents had sold out.
In the meantime….
On October 5th it was reported that the government had sacked the director of the national Hot Spot programme.
“In comments to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency Thursday, Vitsas [ the migration minister] said that last Tuesday he gave the head of the [hot spot] service, Andreas Iliopoulos, until Friday morning to resign or be dismissed.Vitsas’s comments came a day after Iliopoulos alleged in an interview with liberal newspaper Fileleftheros that European Union funds for migration centers were being mismanaged and called for prosecutors to intervene. Vitsas dismissed the claims as “lies.” Iliopoulos meanwhile told Kathimerini he had no real power.” (Ekathimerini, 5th October 2018).
One can assume a touch of the kamikaze in Iliopoulos’s decision to be interviewed by this newspaper. Only a few days earlier the defence minister Panos Kammenos had filed a defamation action against three journalists including the editor in chief of the Fileleftheros daily who had raised concerns about the misuse of funds intended for the hot spots.
““The money existed to transform the camp [Moria Lesvos] into a centre that could have resembled the Hilton; instead it is the Moria that is the source of national shame,” said the paper’s editor-in-chief, Panayiotis Lampsias. “Our reporting is based on fact and totally backed up. We stand by it and will continue with it,” he told the Guardian three days after he was briefly detained.” (Guardian 26 September 2018).
At the same time, it was revealed that the European anti-fraud agency was investigating “alleged irregularities concerning the provision of EU-funded food for refugees in Greece.
Athens has received a total of €1.6bn in financial aid for refugees since 2015.
At the beginning of October, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, visited Samos. To his credit he went into the Camp and noted ” It is really outrageous that while our country had at its disposal 1.6 billion euros from Europe – of which it has absorbed 1.1 billion – that these (inhumane) conditions exist today in Greece and in Europe in the 21st century” (My Samos Blog 2nd October 2018).
On 26th September 2018, Christiana Kalogirou, the Regional Governor of the North Aegean which includes Samos island, issued an order demanding action in the Samos Hotspot . If in 30 days the improvements have not been made then the camp would be closed.
In particular, the following problems were highlighted;
Concerns over food management/storage, distribution and quality of packaged food;
Strong noxious odours; uncollected trash, widespread dirt with an abundance of flies and other insects with health consequences;
Filthy toilets, standing water, fly and insect infestation of toilets and washing area. Generally filthy.
Massive overcrowding which favours transmission of infections;
Over 650 in tents around the camp with no easy access to toilets or washing facilities making for an unhealthy living space.
We wait to see what will happen. It is unimaginable that the camp will be closed.
On 27th September local Samos media reported that Frontext was now test flying its drone over Samos. 2 weeks earlier Frontex disclosed contracts of 6.5 million euros of which 4.75 million will go to Israel Aerospace Industries to provide a medium altitude long endurance remotely piloted aircraft. (Statewatch September 19th 2018)
In the meantime on the ground we have this:
And the rains are coming.