by Konstantinos Tsakalidis
Migrants get free food from volunteers at the Moira camp.
March 22, 2016
New York/Athens, March 22, 2016 — The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to suspend its activities linked to the Moria “hotspot” until further notice. Moria is the main camp on the island of Lesvos where all arrivals are identified, registered, and fingerprinted before being relocated or returned to their home countries. The decision follows the EU-Turkey deal announced Friday, which will lead to the forced return of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Greek Island.
“We made the extremely difficult decision to end our activities in Moria because continuing to work inside would make us complicit in a system we consider to be both unfair and inhumane,” said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF head of mission in Greece. “We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalized for a mass expulsion operation, and we refuse to be part of a system that has no regard for the humanitarian or protection needs of asylum seekers and migrants.”
MSF will close all activities linked to the “hotspot” of Moria, including the transportation of refugees to the center, and the water and sanitation activities and medical clinic inside. MSF will continue to run its transit center in Mantamados, where new arrivals are offered first aid assistance, and its sea rescue activities on the northern beaches of Lesvos. It will also continue to run mobile clinics on the island of Lesvos for those outside of the hotspot location.
Since July 2015, MSF has provided medical consultations, mental health support, distributed relief items, and conducted water and sanitation activities in Moria camp in Lesvos. MSF has carried out 24,314 consultations in the island of Lesvos, including 12,526 in Moria. MSF psychologists have assisted 401 people through individual sessions and have conducted 584 group sessions with 3,532 participants. Teams were also providing temporary shelter and transportation between the North and the registration centers of Moria and Kara Tepe in the South of the island. As of March 13, MSF transported 12,952 new arrivals.