Tuesday, September 15th: thousands of people left on the streets of Lesbos after the fire that destroyed much of the Moria camp are being forcibly relocated. We condemn what we observe as the creation of a new detention camp, set up in the days immediately following the fire. At the moment, the new structure is able to accommodate 5,000 people, but by next week the capacity should increase to 7,000.
However urgent it is to intervene to provide shelter to people forced to live in the streets, it is not possible to accept solution that does not ensure an adequate response to their basic needs. Mattresses are not provided, tents have not been positioned at a sufficient distance to guarantee health safety and, upon entering, phones, razors, shoelaces and necklaces are confiscated, just like in a prison.
Most of all, it is not possible to accept that the European Union repeats the same containment policies that have amply demonstrated their inadequacy at the cost of thousands of lives. Policies based on the creation of hotspots, on the militarization of borders, on the externalization of the control of migratory flows are no more acceptable. People cannot continue to be trapped in inhuman conditions, without rights and without certainties about their future, often condemned to wait an answer for years.
It is urgent to dismantle these open-air prisons and finally start redistributing asylum seekers in individual Member States, taking into the highest consideration their protection and social integration. The continuation of confinement policies would mean turning our eyes once again, waiting the next incident.
An INTERSOS team is on Lesbos to respond to the emergency independently and accordingly to humanitarian principles. Our operators are committed to providing the necessary assistance to the most vulnerable people. The most urgent needs identified are distribution of basic necessities, particularly for women and children, access to water and sanitation, access to health services.