Empty and refill (with more fences)

Implementation of the EU-Turkey deal has started, haphazardly. The weather was relatively good last night, so plenty of people came to the islands. Most, if not all of them, will have bought their ticket before the deal was signed, so the numbers don’t tell us much about longer term changes in smuggling routes. Some new arrivals may not know about the deal at all. But for most, it seems, staying behind just isn’t an option either way.

The Hellenic Coast Guard brings rescued boat people to Chios at ten o’clock today.

Access to new arrivals was curtailed on the port in Chios town this morning, with volunteers being ordered at one point not to touch the refugees. Their access to the reception area was controlled by police. I saw a journalist sitting dolefully outside, apparently waiting for the officers to relent or get distracted. Or just disappear.

On the dock, refugees were put on buses and transported to the hotspot.

After their reception, all the refugees were brought into the hotspot-detention center for registration. Volunteers don’t seem too clear on what will happen to them next, since deportations to Turkey will only begin in two weeks. Maybe they’ll just have to wait in detention. Maybe they’ll move to facilities on the mainland. It’s hard to see either happening without serious overcrowding and related problems.

To keep its bureaucracy straight, Europe wanted to clear the islands of refugees before midnight, when the deal went into effect. There are still a few hundred here in Chios at camp Souda, but it seems likely that most or all will be moved to the mainland tonight.

Refugees that came before midnight await the ferry that will take them to Athens.

Apart from the hurried evacuation of the islands, not much seems to have changed. But the real test is what will be done with refugees after registration; where the souls will be stored, and in what conditions.

Empty and refill (with more fences)

One thought on “Empty and refill (with more fences)

  1. Volunteer from one of the NGOs says:

    Some people inside Vial insist that they arrived on the 18th. of march, but due to computerproblems they were not registered before the 21. This is not confirmed, but some volunteers claim that they recognise a few of the refugees from the former camp in Tabakika.


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