27Nov2022

SCM Medical Missions

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Category: Greece

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Updates from SCM volunteers on the ground in Lesvos, Greece

We are incredibly proud of our first official team in Lesvos, Greece. They are currently working on the northern shore of Lesvos, where refugees are landing by boat. 

SCM Team manned the Sikaminea’ Al-Zahara post from 13:00 after Al-Zahara team took a break, where they serviced 3 boats around 11:00.

We cleaned/tidied up site and sorted supplies, especially clothing. Recruited individual volunteers from UK, Norway and Sweden and assigned them duties.

Late afternoon a boat with around 50 (mostly Afghani single men) arrived and was processed promptly. Shortly after sundown two boats landed, one after another with mostly Syrian families. More tired and wet than usual arrivals. They were served hot soup, bread, fruits and water. Dr. Zahra was very busy tending to elder women and an exhausted pregnant lady. Zohab coordinated help for families with young children, David with water and information for the road ahead. Swedes and UK volunteers helped with dry clothing and Norwegians helped with food and housekeeping. We were told it was a record processing over 100 persons in 35 minutes. They made the bus to camps in good time.

There were reports of more boats to come so the team decided to work through the night. Al-Zahara team came back with several thousand dollars of new clothing and food supplies. They also started the kitchen duty with Nehari beriani and later boiled eggs for morning arrivals.

We helped cleaning, resetting and sorting the site and setup night holding tents for refugees arriving throughout the night as buses only run during the day.

Frequent police patrols and fire department visited the site during the night.

Only around 6:30 one boat was serviced by volunteers in vans and cars as it landed over 30 mnt away from site. Dr. Zahra stayed at the site where it was overwhelmed with several cases, even with the help of a Swedish ER doctor. Dr. Zahra accompanied a late pregnancy case to local hospital and stayed with her till triad and examination. We are picking up that lady tomorrow to reunite her with family in camp Moria.

Zohab back by the hotel spotted a family in a small boat. He noticed the wife was pregnant and took the family of six en route to hospital. They decided to join other Syrian families instead of going to hospital.

Now the mayor requested the Sikaminea site dismantled and all volunteers are pushing back. We’re trying trying to get updates as this may impact our intermediate plans. Zohab suggested he stays at camp Moria tomorrow where refugees are dependent on volunteers for food supplies.

Seas are rougher in the last two days and I reckon that will continue. On the way back to the hotel refugees were trekking the mountain roads, needing water and food. At least two boats landed between 4:00 and 6:30 in locations far from usual landing points and away from volunteer’s sight.

Tomorrow is Day 4 and assessment may change.

-Zahra, Zohab, and David

To learn more about how you can help, volunteer information is located here. If you would like to support our missions to Lesvos, please click here

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Urgent Appeal: SCM to Provide Humanitarian Aid in Greece

URGENT: Donate to our Emergency Greece Fund

Update on 9/22/2015: Please see click here to read our team’s final report regarding Lesvos –  SCMGreeceAssessment

Update on Greece 9/2/2015:

SCM is calling on all supporters, humanitarians, past-mission volunteers and the international community for assistance. After an initial report by our team in Lesvos, Greece we are more than ever concerned for the well-being of refugees who have made it this far. Basic necessities such as shelter, sanitation, access to food/water are needed ASAP. To be quite frank, this has been heartbreaking for all of us as personal accounts of extremes taken in an attempt to reach safety are heard and pictures of drowned children on shores circulate. It is even more heartbreaking for those who continue to experience it. We are pleading for a show of humanity. This is a direct action to help immediately…so we may ease the pain of those we seek to help.
-SCM Team


At the start of September, SCM will be traveling to Greece with a small team to access the situation in the Greek Islands and provide humanitarian and medical aid. We have teamed up with a local NGO who have been on the front lines intercepting refugees from the beaches; working with a limited number of volunteers and supplies. SCM is currently collecting funds to provide emergency supplies such food, water, blankets and limited medication on the ground and in person during this upcoming trip.

In July of this year alone 50,242 individuals entered Greece’s borders by sea in pursuit of safety, which is more than all of 2014 combined. According the UNHCR, roughly 82% are of Syrian-origin, with the remainder from Iraq and Afghanistan . The total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year has reached a staggering 264,500 with roughly 160,000 landing in Greece and 2,300 lives lost in the journey.
The islands of Kos and Lesvos are seeing the majority of refugees touch base on their beaches. After a terrifying voyage, a very limited number of local NGO’s and Greek nationals are scrambling to accept them with food, water, and emergency supplies. Unfortunately, the UN reception centers are located across the islands. This leaves the refugees with anywhere from a 40-70 kilometer trek on foot to be processed by the UN . A local NGO, METAction has been attempting to provide travel assistance during this journey. For others, it depends on the kindness of Greek nationals.

The reception centers in place are often in unofficial locations such as parks, stadiums, fields and in one case in Kos- a police department. The UN has recently opened a new processing center in Eleonas, Athens which is available to house 700 refugees at capacity . This reception center is the most developed in all of Greece in response to the refugee crisis, but is still lacking basic medical and humanitarian assistance. Greek nationals have personally taken it on themselves to assist with food, shelter, and water in unofficial centers although they are struggling themselves with the harsh economy.

Although Greece is ultimately doing its best, its lack of infrastructure is felt by the refugees who wish to move on to other European countries due to a lack of resources and stability.  SCM will be doing what it can to help, with your support leading the way.

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Sources:

[1] Numbers of refugee arrivals to Greece increase dramatically. 18 August 2015. UNHCR. http://www.unhcr.org/55d32dcf6.html

[2] Number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece soars 750 per cent over 2014. 7 August 2015. UNHCR. http://www.unhcr.org/55c4d1fc2.html

[3] Athens accommodation site opens for new arrivals in Greece. 20 August 2015. UNHCR. http://www.unhcr.org/55d5dc5f6.html