Refugees in Greece: “I’m Tired of Living in Fear”

On the 24th of May, the Greek police started to evacuate the camp of Idomeni, a transit camp where thousands of refugees have been stranded for over two months without adequate humanitarian assistance and with no access to asylum procedures. In the first hours of the morning, several hundred riot police started to slowly fill buses with the first groups of people to leave. According to Greek authorities at least 37 buses carrying more than 1780 people were evacuated in the first 12 hours. The situation is currently calm and whilst volunteers have been prevented from accessing the camp, MSF still has restricted access and continues to carry out our medical activities with a reduced team of 8 people (medical and deputy fieldco). MSF is not opposed to the movement of people from Idomeni to other locations, if they will be provided with better conditions, and if this is done on a voluntary basis by providing the refugees with sufficient information about the destination so they can take an informed decision. MSF asks the authorities to ensure that volunteers and NGOs are allowed to continue to access the people living at Idomeni camp for as long as they are there.
Amir Karimi/MSF
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Siham, 30 years old, is from Halab, Syria. She was in the refugee camp of Idomeni, Greece on Wednesday morning when Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff collected this testimony by phone.

The police came early in the morning and took a lot of people away. Very few people are left in the camp now. My children are scared and I don’t know what to do. The people who have gone to the new official camps don’t like it there. I don’t know if I should go or cross the border illegally. But my husband, who is in Holland, doesn’t want us to go illegally.

There is very little food available here at the moment. People are worried if they don’t go to the new official camps and instead remain in Idomeni that they will not be given food. No one in my area has been evacuated yet. I still haven’t been told when I will be moved from here. Yesterday I found out from other people still in Idomeni camp that people along the railway were being taken away. And this morning other people that live closer to me were told that they would be removed too.

I feel extremely confused. We used to feel hopeful in this camp. We were hoping the border would reopen at some point but things changed yesterday. Last night my children were crying from hunger. Very little food is available to us here. I am alone with my three children here. We got separated from their father and my nine years old son seven months ago. They are both in Holland now. We had found some stability here. I don’t know what will be our fate now. It is so frustrating. I want to know what will happen to us. It’s not normal and it is tense.

We are worried. We don’t know where we will be taken. We are told we will find out when we get off the bus at the new camp. We were told some time ago that we would be moved at some point but not by force. I am tired of being here and I’m tired of living in fear. My husband says that my son in Holland is very upset and he misses me a lot. I just want my family to be reunited—please help us.

Read More: Involuntary Eviction from Idomeni Creates Further Hardships for Refugees

On the 24th of May, the Greek police started to evacuate the camp of Idomeni, a transit camp where thousands of refugees have been stranded for over two months without adequate humanitarian assistance and with no access to asylum procedures. In the first hours of the morning, several hundred riot police started to slowly fill buses with the first groups of people to leave. According to Greek authorities at least 37 buses carrying more than 1780 people were evacuated in the first 12 hours. The situation is currently calm and whilst volunteers have been prevented from accessing the camp, MSF still has restricted access and continues to carry out our medical activities with a reduced team of 8 people (medical and deputy fieldco). MSF is not opposed to the movement of people from Idomeni to other locations, if they will be provided with better conditions, and if this is done on a voluntary basis by providing the refugees with sufficient information about the destination so they can take an informed decision. MSF asks the authorities to ensure that volunteers and NGOs are allowed to continue to access the people living at Idomeni camp for as long as they are there.
Amir Karimi/MSF