Lesvos

A Drop in the Ocean supports residents in the temporary camp of Kara Tepe with laundry services and activities supporting psychosocial well-being.

Laundry service, Lesvos

Kara Tepe refugee camp 

On 9 September 2020 the Moria camp burned down. After the fire, 12,000 people were left without shelter. Many were relocated to the mainland, but around 7,800 asylum seekers were resettled in the new temporary site of Kara Tepe. 

Camp residents live in tents, and there is not sufficient electricity or running water in the camp. There are continuously disease outbreaks, such as scabies and lice. The geographic location of the camp makes it extremely prone to the consequences of storms and heavy rain. During the winter season, the temperature drops to around zero degrees, making an already difficult situation even worse.  

The temporary camp Kara Tepe
Photo: A Drop in the Ocean

Who lives in Kara Tepe camp? 

  • There are more than 6,900 people in the camp 
  • 23% are women and 36% are children 
  • 71 % of residents are from Afghanistan 
  • 10% from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 7 % from Syria, 5% from Somalia and 2% from Iraq

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – January 2021  

What does A Drop in the Ocean do on Lesvos? 

The living conditions for the inhabitants of Kara Tepe are extremely difficult. A Drop in the Ocean has a team on the ground consisting of experienced coordinators, and international, local and community volunteer field workers. Our team monitor the situation and assist wherever it is needed, often in co-operation with other organisations.  

We have been working on Lesvos since 2015. Before Covid-19 and the fire in Moria, we organised activities at our Drop Centre in Moria Village and our Drop Learning Centre. We ran activities for unaccompanied single minors inside Moria refugee camp.  

After the fire in Moria Camp, we initiated the following activities. 

Our programme activities: 

1. Community Empowerment Mobilisation 

  • Mother and baby area 

Our team on the ground provides a space for mothers and their babies. We serve tea and organise craft and other social activities for women, while their babies play under close watch in a safe environment. This space brings much-needed relief to mothers and their children. They can access various activities and find a sense of normalcy.  

  • Activities for older children 

We organise activities for older children outside of the mother and baby area. Activities range from arts and learning activities, to various sports activities such as playing football, skipping, and frisbee. 

  • Unaccompanied minors 

We continue to support unaccompanied minors (UAMs) living outside of the camp in a safe place. From March 2019 until September 2020 we worked with UAMs inside Moria Camp. This experience has been helpful in establishing new activities since the fire. In co-operation with the children, we arrange arts and crafts, and physical activities. In our experience, such activities provide a welcome relief for UAMs in an otherwise difficult everyday life.  

2. Humanitarian Aid 

  • Laundry service

Without proper access to water in the camp, laundry is a big challenge. We support families with babies, families with children under four years old, and single men with a laundry service. In collaboration with the organisation The Dirty Girls of Lesvos Island, we wash clothes to medical standards. This is one out of many measures to prevent the spreading of scabies and other diseases. 

  • Distributions 

Through collaborations with other organisations, we support distributions of non-food items and medical supplies.  

Due to the situation of Covid-19, changes to the activities might occur. We always ensure infection prevention by following various infection control measures, in accordance with the guidelines of the Greek authorities.