Lesbos Island, May 2016.
In 2016 Moira’s hotspot was a former detention center built on a hill 10 km far from Mytilene, the biggest town on the island. It was converted into a hotspot designed to register the incoming migrants, who could also be deported to Turkey. Most of them were from Afghanistan and Pakistan, some were Syrians. Almost every family and minor were moved to the Kara Tepe’s hospital camp. As they wrote on the walls, migrants called this hotspot a “jail”. Several NGO’s (for example, Doctors without Borders) decided not to work in the hotspot, and complained about the treatment reserved to migrants and refugees after the agreement beetween Turkey and European union signed on March 20th 2016.
According to Boris Cheshirkov, UNHCR’s spokesman on the island, in Moria there should be «more than 3.300 people». The truth was that nobody knew the accurate number. We had a 20 minutes interview with Cheshirkov, but he continuously repeated us the same words: «Trust the system. We had problems, but we are solving them».
Those who had been living in Moria for more than 25 days could go out freely during the day because it was impossible to leave the island. Everyday somebody was being arrested in Mytilene’s harbor while trying to take ship for Athen.
We entered Moria on the 4th and the 7th of May 2016 during the night, passing through a web-hole opened by migrants who wanted to escape the hotspot from the back. In fact, sometimes at night migrants secretly go to the sea to fish, because the “Potatoes&Maccheroni” – also a joke-song title they created – they used to eat every day didn’t satiate them. Once a week there was also chicken but it wasn’t enough for 3000 people; on the “linefood” there may were demonstrations and scenes of fight.
Our guides were 3 Afghani guys, who showed us were they had to live: tents, a “phone charge- wall”, not more than 30-40 bathrooms, and showers-boxes where excrements were overspread on the floor, for bathrooms are cleaned only once a week.
When 3 weeks before Moria had been visited by Pope Francis, migrants told us that nobody showed him the true situation.