Well a lot of has changed in the last 6 months. The borders have closed and over 51K people, more than half of them women and children, are trapped in Greece, their futures uncertain. With the latest agreement signed between the EU and Turkey, Greece is now sending people who arrived after the March 20th agreement effective date back to Turkey. Dozens of official camps have been set up across Greece and tens of thousands of people are camping out at the border at Idomeni and at the port in Athens. Conditions at both official and unofficial camps are horrific. Most of them are merely camping tents, with no floor, set up in old army bases or detention centers. Some have no running water, adequate toilets or electricity. Everything from baby bottles, underwear, socks, and food are in short supply. The unsanitary conditions are leading to diseases. While the Greek government is running these camps, they are ill prepared to take care of vast numbers of people, especially given their own economic issues. Again, we find that help is coming from the small grass roots organizations and volunteers.
I didn’t expect to play any role whatsoever in a rescue last night. But thanks to the incredible reach of social media, despite being more than 8,000 km away, I did.
Shortly after midnight I was sitting in my living room in Arlington, Virginia (USA), enjoying a Duolingo lesson after everyone else in the house had gone to bed. Ping..