As a small grassroots volunteer group, we were hopeful that when asylum seekers moved out of the Idomeni makeshift camp, we would be able to fill gaps in the new accommodations, and not meet urgent basic needs. Instead we found ourselves attempting to make habitable many of the 23 abandoned warehouses, factories and fields that people had been told would meet their basic needs, but instead presented 23 geographically dispersed emergency situations.
The heat of Summer 2016 was oppressive. With many sites lacking potable water supply, electricity, or human infrastructure, and with many people being “housed” in tents crammed on top of each another, people were exposed to the elements, without basic resources such as water, and without basic protections such as shade. The prevalence of mosquitos and stagnant water, the overcrowding and the remote locations of sites added to the problem. There were significant health hazards and protection concerns on sites.
As larger authorities failed to act, we facilitated tremendous infrastructure projects, costing around 300 000 euros, and thousands of volunteer hours (we are especially grateful to volunteer teams in the wider network for their help),
Emergency Infrastructure Response: May – September 2016
- We purchased and fitted industrial Wall fans, mosquito traps, industrial mosquito doors, in four camps
- We purchased and constructed shade structures in five camps
- We undertook serious building and repairs in warehouse camps, including fixing roofs and doors, and gravelling camps
- We purchased a significant amount of fire extinguishers for camps
- We installed individual power sockets, offering power supply to around 4000 people.
- We installed electrical infrastructure in three camps so services such as community spaces, and schools could be possible on site.
- We built two secure schools
- We bought tools and materials so residents could start to build up and improve their own living environments
- We provided sanitary, hygiene and health products including mosquito spray to over 5000 people living at seven camps
- We provided thousands of people in camps with access to kettles and re-usable mugs so drinks could be made, and babies could be cared for
- We provided temporary water supply systems to three camps
- We installed permanent fresh water supply systems in two camps
- We installed and moved isoboxes in camps, so sanitation improvements could be made, food distribution and community services could be set up, and a new water line installed.
- We installed two full drainage system to respond to the horrendous stagnant waters posing a health risk to thousands of people
- We bought and transported isoboxes, and food supplies between camps to enable groups to open facilities and services
Ongoing Infrastructure projects September 2016-present
We committed long term to Softex Camp, and we have continued to build and improve that site throughout the year, e.g. by building community spaces, sports facilities, and supporting with lighting, heating, and other physical infrastructure projects.
In March 2017 we began facilitating a significant construction programme at Koutsochero.