Migrants and refugees on Greece’s island of Lesvos have been trying in the last several days to help the country’s fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic by sewing their own face masks.
At the same time, however, fears of a widespread contagion in the country’s refugee and migrant camps grow, as the hygiene in these places is insufficient at the best of times.
Migrants and refugees near the Moria camp on Lesvos have established their own small ”mask factory” in an attempt to help the Greek medical staff in their efforts to combat the pandemic.
Photos from the «mask factory» near Moria, under supervision of an Afgani pharmacist. Additionally the sewing place produced 100 slings for volunteers from the camp so they are clearly visible as members of “Moria Corona Awareness Team” #Refugeesgr
( stand by me #Lesvos ) pic.twitter.com/7OGfhYmkyA
— NoBorders (@Refugees_Gr) March 24, 2020
The migrants’ sewing project has also produced 100 sashes for volunteers from the camp, so they could be clearly visible as members of the “Moria Corona Awareness Team.”
However, the situation at the camp is far from idyllic.
Recently the Greek government announced a series of measures which effectively put all migrant camps into lockdown.
Visitors are not allowed to enter the facilities anymore while most of the activities once taking place there are have now been paused.
Refugees and migrants now face extreme difficulties in getting out of their camps, as the entire country is in lockdown.
International Organizations such as Human Rights Watch are urging Athens to adopt a strategy in case an outbreak takes place inside a camp.
”In the event of an outbreak, a quarantine that would trap tens of thousands of healthy people together with people infected by COVID-19 in the overcrowded camps, accompanied by a lack of adequate and appropriate medical preparedness and response, would almost certainly lead to preventable deaths of numerous people,” a group of these organizations said on Tuesday in a joint press release.
Organizations such as Amnesty International and Refugee Rights Europe also asked the Greek government to ”provide information to all residents of the reception centers about (a) how to prevent COVID-19 and (b) what to do and how to get help if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 in a wide range of languages, including ones that are less frequently used.”
Greece is facing an unprecedented migrant crisis as tens of thousands of migrants and refugees are now stranded in the country after their attempt to enter Europe by crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey.