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Lesvos – Winter is coming

These are images of the squats on Lesvos where I find myself living.

 

The refugees living here prefer to live in these windowless shells of buildings than in the government run camps, which are nearly at double capacity, with people sleeping OUTSIDE on the ground!  Large NGO’s are busy in the camps, but there are only a few of us working  here in the autonomous spaces outside the scope of the charity money and government agencies.

HELP IS DESPERATELY NEEDED TO WINTERIZE THESE BUILDINGS, 10 people died last year IN MORIA CAMP, and while I’m here in a squat just down the road, I don’t want to hear of a repeat! Unfortunately, without some help with funding, this is still a possibility. We need people as well as funds, so if you have a spare week, month or are dissatisfied with your life and want to do something really worth while, come down for longer, flights are cheep and the work is so rewarding. Free accommodation and we eat together so costs aren’t alot.

And if all you can do is forward this link to our crowd funder, please do that… Unlike Tesco, every little helps.

https://www.fundsurfer.com/project/refugee-art-trail

Bless

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Serbia/Hungarian border, where the migrants are being literally BEATEN back by racist police!?! WTF year are we living in???

So this week some friends and I travelled north to Subotica on the border where hundreds of people are camped in appalling conditions in derelict buildings trying to cross from the Balkans into Europe.

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We arrived late a few nights ago, and walked some water and supplies into a train station encampment which is in-accessable by vehicle. The conditions are very rough, with open fires inside, and no electricity, obviously… we sat around a toxic fire indoors and talked with one group of men from Kashmir, who said they had been forced to leave their home due to ‘problems with Taliban ‘ I felt sick with the guilt of coming there in warm clothes and good shoes when I saw that most of them were wearing shoes a few sizes too small, an were forced to fold the back of the shoes over and stand on them with their heel hanging out the back…  ‘the police in Hungary took our shoes and coats before  beating us, stealing our money and drenching us in ice cold water and making us stand in the rain for hours before sending us back to Serbia. ‘

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This is due to not enough shoes of the right sizes, if any at all being donated to this specific camp, as alot of the clothes and shoes given to the lager campaigns never reach these far flung camps and areas like this… this is not an isolated issue, and is the same all over Europe, the Balkans , and I’m sure the middle East right now… specific sizes needed are 42, and there abouts…to the point where my new friend Salim is actually known as ’42’ due to unsuccessfully repeating the number so many times in distribution lines across the country. It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.

We got up the next day and visited the other camp, with the well with polluted water…’when we drink all of the 1 litter of bottled water we are given every 2 days, we drink from this ‘…i was told! It has twice as much salt content as the body can cope with, as well as other more dangerous contamination.

Photos courtesy of Samwize …ta blood!

We took some footage, and talked to a German crew providing phone charging to the whole camp of around  80  from 1 leisure battery (can’t work very well but it’s something), and then headed back to town to the fresh response warehouse to help pack food into bags for distribution.

 

This happens every other day, from a muddy lane, known as the secret spot where we can get away with providing the only aid these people get, without fear of prosecution from the police.. and all that is is a small bag of veg, a bag of fruit, and a litre of water for each person… but again, it’s something…

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Any donations this week will go on shoes, and will also be put into food funds with the fresh response team’s cash, as it isn’t alot, and they need serious help.

I have travelled back to Belgrade today to buy a water filtration system…

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and pick up Gundagir, my new four legged companion, who was very sick, and had to stay behind in the vets for a few days with parvo virus. He has fully recovered despite being only 3 months old, and we are heading back north on a night train. A huge thanks to ‘help na’ , a Spanish crew of firemen who come out in rotation to help at the barracks, for funding this project to get clean water to those who desperately need it as fast as possible without buying thousands of plastic bottles a week which end up as rubbish. Good on you guys!

Whist in Belgrade, I got to see the table we made while here being used for board games during an evening chai distribution , and got a really good feeling out of seeing the guys use it … it is for sale to fund an orphanage in Afghanistan … so please help by forwarding  how u can. It is made from the Ekki wood I salvaged and milled from the Calais warehouse wood yard, together with rail sleepers from this camp. And has been made by myself , and some very hard working migrants from the Belgrade Barracks… sensible offers by comment please…

 

Please spread this blog around as much as possible as this area is not getting any media and is very underfunded.

1 love to you all, and please spare a thought for ways to stop this bloody war eh…

Peace

Ventimiglia – Italy. Refugees need support in freezing conditions… 1/3/18

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Arriving at the Italian French border last night was like going back to the Calais ‘jungle’ but in snow. 300 plus people shelter from the biting snow under a motorway bridge in tents and tarpaulin structures and huddle around fires of plastic, old blankets and what ever else will burn.

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There are a rag tag army of about 25 young volunteers from various countries distrusting food, clothes, blankets and water, as well as fire wood, but no signs of any of the flouro tabards worn by the large NGO’s and charities. Rubbish and rats, as well as scabies are all endemic, and there is only one small shop being rented as an impromptu info point, internet provider , distribution warehouse come phone charging booth.

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I drove up from Sicily when I heard reports of the snow and the general state of the situation to help provide fire wood and logistics, and today the church opposite the makeshift camp opened its doors at lunch time and allowed people to shelter inside. Unfortunately the snow and main cold period was over by then, but every little helps.

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We spent the day sourcing firewood and costing chainsaws and axes and the like,. A local man brought some chainsaws and we set about cutting and chopping wood for the cold night  ahead. but with more people arriving daily we are now in desperate need of more wood daily and tents for the helpers AND the refugees …as well as essential winter clothing, shoes, socks and underwear, bedding, food and everything you would take to a winter camping trip in the ALPS ..!!!

PLEASE SPREAD THIS AND DONATE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE NO MATTER HOW SMALL AN AMOUNT AT

https://www.fundsurfer.com/project/refugee-art-trail

See a friends video at

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2018/02/26/ventimiglia-neve-e-gelo-sullaccampamento-dei-migranti-i-volontari-situazione-pesante-servono-legna-e-coperte/4189233/amp/

We are all self funded individuals and 100 of your donations go DIRECTLY to helping the people. We will publish recipts online here for transparency Thankyou.

Direct Action Volunteer

WINTER IS HERE, and open fires in squats is the standard heating option again…

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So just as with Belgrade last year, the only option for some refugees, living in squatted accomadation on the greek islands, for heating amd cooking, is to light open fires in their warehouse homes.

I am the only volunteer living in these warehouses with the refugees who refuse to be corraled into the triple over number camp on Lesvos… And its not nice, by day I help build structures like doctors surgeries, school rooms, gyms and such in a family center called One Happy Family nearby, but once back at the squat every evening I am innundated by requests for gas bottles, batteries for lights, pipes to repare water supplies and many more such essential requirements we all take for granted as human rights.

We have been promised wood burners by a large charity, but things move soo slowly in this world of aid and ngo’s we may as well start making our own… as they will probably not arrive till spring!

Please spread this link and donate through the link on this page to my crowdfunder…

https://www.fundsurfer.com/project/refugee-art-trail

Peaceful protest for relocation from Lesvos – island prison

Last night was cold and clear as around a hundred refugees settled down to try to sleep under thin, scratchy UNHCR blankets in the public Square in Mytillini Harbour Lesvos.  It is their second night here protesting the disgusting living conditions in Moria camp. UN money is not reaching the people in the camps, refugees say, with regular water shortages, huge queues when there is water at all, terrible and tiny meals, a prison section inside the camp where people facing deportation are kept behind razor wire, and near or over double the numbers the camp was designed for. There are fights between the different nationalities forced into such over crowed space, and riots too.

One young man showed me a video taken of someone trying to find a way to hang himself from the roof of the prison section the other day, while many bear huge scars from self harming.

This peaceful protest will continue until the authorities make plans to move the people to the mainland, and a storm is due in tonight.  Today we took a mobile phone charging station to the people, but we fear police with step in if tents are delivered.

 

Medhi says on his face book:-

REFUGEES protest in Mitilini.
We are not CRIMINALS.
We are not your SLAVE.
We are very strong you will see Europe.

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Arash Hampay wrote:

The third day of the protests and one child was transferred to the hospital.

For children, one woman…

شب سوم اعتراضات پناهنده ها در میدان شهر میتیلینی و اعزام یک کودک دیگر به بیمارستان…
#refugees #Greece #lesvos #mytilini

 

Appeal for fishing equipment for Lesvos and update on works by Refugee Art Trail

This week has seen our small team of two double, and some amazing result

After a weeks work here in the two occupied living spaces now renamed the All About Change buildings, we are please to post pictures of the clearing of a huge pile of disgusting rubbish, which was in a living space used by 25 people. We bagged up around 60 bags and are moving them out to the bins, which are emptied daily.  we painted over a lot of bad graffiti, making the places look bad to the local population, and thus threatening the longevity of the peoples homes…

And, thanks to Hope and Aid Direct giving a small donation, we have today made 5 temporary windows for the bigger of the two buildings, which as we are on the coast is going to make a huge difference. Thanks guys.

We are now appealing for fishing equipment, as we see a huge amount of people going to fish on the small beach near us, to supplement the terrible food the camps give. I meet my friend Javad on the shore at 7.30 this morning, fishing with a line tied around a plastic bottle.. ‘ if I had a rod, I could catch more fish for my family’ he said.

So if you have an old rod, net, or any fishing kit at all, please send it over to us here at the address below, and give a family a regular, free, improvement to their diet. Please spread to people and groups you know who mights help.

Bless

 

Forest school in serbia for refugee minors.

25/4/17 – A day out in the woods, climbing trees, running down forest paths screeching , catching Gundagir the dig, and generally having fun, like young boys should.

A huge thanks to all who made this possible, and please, spread the link to this if u have 5 minutes so we can continue to offer days out like this to the youth on the camp here.  Funding link below video

http://fndsr.fr/2ctqYR5

 

13 year old’s testimony of beating at Hungarian boarder with Serbia…!?!

Hungarian police have been beating and torturing migrants trying to cross from the Balkans in to Europe, before sending them back across the border all winter, but a new video from fresh response now shows a 13 year old’s testimony as he describes how the police punched and kicked him, as well as settings  dogs on him, before soaking  him with water. This all happened at night before sending  him back across the border.  The filming was stopped due to the child’s obvious distress.

Keep in mind that after his ordeal, this minor, and all the others who face a similar reception to Hungary, after the west helped destroy their countries, are forced to cross a river, at night, into a woodland, where the wander lost for days to  weeks, trying desperately to find their way back to Subotica, after having  their phones and money stollen by the border police.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1356363527744137&id=1157495037630988&__tn__=C

This link is to the video on first response’s facebook, please like and forward , and check the other videos for more harrowing accounts of what these peoe  have to go through, if you can deal with it…

We need funding to continue this work, so please donate what ever you can, and please help us by forwarding the link to this page, and the videos around d your social media as much as possible…

I won’t rant on to much here as the vids are the main story this week…

Peace