Leros är en liten typisk grekisk ö med ca 8000 invånare som ligger i Egeiska havet, strax utanför den turkiska kusten. Ögruppen heter Dodekaneserna och öar som Kos, Kalymnos och Rhodos hör dit. Fram tom augusti hade Leros tagit emot 9000 flyktingar. Fler har kommit sedan. Det är utanför Leros kust som ett stort antal människor ett flertal gånger drunknat pga att flyktingarna själv eller smugglarna tagit hål på båten för att bli räddade av den grekiska kustbevakningen. Risken är annars att man blir upptäckt av den turkiska kustbevakningen som då tar flyktingarna tillbaka till Turkiet.
I nuläget finns ingen hjälporganisation på plats. Röda korset har inte alls varit där, UNHCR har haft någon person på plats och Läkare utan gränser har hjälpt lite men ironiskt nog inte skickat någon läkare.
Leros is a small typical Greek island with approximately 8000 inhabitants located in the Aegean Sea, just off the Turkish coast. The archipelago is called Dodecanese, including also islands like Kos, Kalymnos and Rhodes. Until August, Leros has received 9,000 refugees. More have come since.
It’s outside the coast of Leros that many people have drowned when they or the smugglers have punctured the boats trying to get the attention of the Greek coastguard. This because of the fear of being taken back to Turkey by the turkish coastguard.
A Swedish girl, Hannah, who lives with her husband and their children on Leros is one of the local volunteers. She has told this. The refugees that arrive to Leros come with the port police or FRONTEX via one of the two smaller islands Farmakonisi or Agathonisi. These islands are Greek military islands close to the coast of Turkey. The rubber boats with refugees rarely arrive directly to Leros. On arrival to the port of Leros the refugees are registered outdoors of the port police. Often they have already been without food for a few days and they are often wet and frozen. Registration takes at least one night. During the wait they sleep outdoors, in a staircase or similar. Once they are ”set free” there is rarely any boat to Athens the same day. Those who have money can book a room at one of the three hotels that accept refugees. The rest are left to sleep in tents (which is difficult because of the low standard, even rats running around) or on the ground. The average stay of refugees is four days on Leros.
For now there is no aid organization on site. The Red Cross has not been there at all, UNHCR has had a couple of people on site and Médecins sans frontièrs has provided some help but has (ironically) not sent any doctor.
Leros Solidarity Network are doing what they can. They even secured state money to renovate an old house in one of the towns but it seems as if the plan to use this house hasn’t worked out.
During recent weeks volunteers have travelled there to try to organize volunteer work. There is a lack of structure, which the volunteers now try to seek through Leros Refugee Aid, UNHCR and others.
The biggest problems are the lack of beds/rooms and food. Food is now being paid and provided by volunteers and various fundraisers. The amount of food is dependent on how much the volunteers can gather.
Please read more on our links to learn more and get more understanding of the situation on Leros and in the Mediterranean.