Most of us have seen the news headlines of the Greek government moving the refugees out of the makeshift camps at the Greece-Macedonia border at Idomeni. The refugees are being moved to official camps set up by the government and SCM is there to continue providing aid. Sindos is one of the new camps that is in a huge, old factory.
Here is a description from our volunteer Madi W. who has been on the ground since last month and plans to stay as long as we need her:
May 24, 2016: We’ve moved in to a new camp called Sindos. Although these camps are run by the military and have both military and police presence, the residents have free movement and the environment is very relaxed. The camp is located behind a Mercedes dealership outside of Thessolaniki in an old hangar. Tents are pitched inside and are numbered. Being inside is a huge upgrade from living in the mud and dirt in Idomeni. 350 people were moved in on Sunday morning before we came to set up that afternoon. We’ve been given a gray, garden shed-type building next to Block C with electricity and a private room to see patients. The view from our clinic window is a large green fence where people hang laundry to dry and the clinic door looks at the old building where the police and military are based. When we first moved in it had a very abandoned feeling to it and the empty blocks were echoed and eerie but today as new residents from Idomeni poured in they filled the place with life. The power of community is so strong! Women who had seen our OBGYN, Sam, earlier in the day brought friends back so they could all enjoy quality care and a wellness check. People come and tell us about their sick family members or friends, they accompany them and ask questions and advocate for them. That shows me that we’re a trustworthy service. They are confident in our ability to help as best we can.
Idomeni is being cleared so our team is present at the camps within walking distance of the hotel: Hara and Eko. We’ve been providing regular care at Eko since we arrived here back in March and are now working closely with a group called Katrinos out of a wonderful yellow ambulance for women’s care and the bright Swedish ambulance for general care. There have been weeks where we’ve had too many medical care providers- back in March I wouldn’t have even imagined that as a possibility! As the populations and needs change we try to adjust accordingly. The trust that we’ve earned here means so much to us. Hara and Eko will soon follow Idomeni as far as clearing out but we are standing by our community until the last patient is relocated to better conditions.
May 26, 2016: The conditions in Sindos are not ideal but the basic framework is certainly loads better than in the pop-up camps or in Idomeni. The tents are large and sturdy and are inside where they’re protected from the wind and rain. The military and Swiss Cross are starting to hand out sleeping pads as well as blankets. There’s only porta-potties and there’s no hot water.
The food isn’t ideal but we need to remember that lots of these peoples diets are supplemented by food from small NGOs or food they make themselves. We’re working on getting access to raw foods for them to cook and prepare for themselves.
We are now providing medical services at three camps – Sindos, Eko, and Hara. Eko and Hara will likely be closed down and cleared by the government. They currently operate on land near two gas stations. We will continue to provide medical and humanitarian aid for as long as we are needed. Please donate to help support our efforts in Greece. Your donations will go towards purchasing medications and supplies, and providing logistics support to our teams on the ground.