In the nights of September 8 and September 9, devastating fires ripped through Moria camp on Lesvos. The fires completely destroyed the camp and left 13,000 refugees without shelter. Unfortunately this also included the campUs we build in the olive groves surrounding camp Moria which, at the time of the fire, was home to some 3,000 refugees under our direct care. This campUs and the people living there was a central element of the waste collection project.
In the direct after math of the fires we focused our entire operation on Lesvos on emergency support to the 13,000 men, women and children that were literally residing on the road side with no shelter and no access to water or food.
For more background on our work immediately after the fires, please refer to: https://movementontheground.com/story/emergency-help-required-we-need-you-now-22479
Within a week after the fires, the Greek authorities together with UNHCR started buildig a new, temporary camp - RIC Lesvos. This led to much debate across Europe and intenste protests by the refugees on the island as both parties demanded for refugees to be transferred off the island and ideally be relocated in the EU member states.
What is Movement On The Ground going to do now? This question was posed to us by the public. By our friends and family. By our colleague NGOs on the ground. By our resident friends - the men, women and children we had come to know and love in and around Moria camp. People urging us to take a stand. Do what’s right. Don’t do what’s wrong.
Movement On The Ground has decided to work in the new temporary camp which shelters almost 10,000 people. And we are still doing so today. The main reason being that only by staying, by working in the new camp we can make sure the camp will become a more dignified place to stay. A place where we can cultivate our Camp to campUS philosophy with and for refugees. Where people can feel part of a community. Where talents, skills and opportunities are seen and used. Where there is trust and respect amongst refugees, the Greek community and our fellow NGO’s.
For a more detailed background on this decision, our toughest ever, please refer to our statement #ByThemWeStand on https://movementontheground.com/story/by-them-we-stand-22505
Though the conditions in the new camp are still far from ideal and much work is still needed to provide even the most basic services and offer some safety and security, Movement On The Ground continues with its team of community volunteers to work on waste collection, shelter improvement, distribution of goods, shower facilities and sports activities.
It's been very rough months for all involved and we do want to thank you for your support.