Ana, Stephen and Linn Therese work as volunteers at Lesvos. On May 1, 2018 at 7.15 they assisted a boatlanding at South of Mytilene, Lesvos. Read more about this in Steven Dover’s text below.
By: Stephen Dover
Earlier on our shift the Greek Coastguard picked up a refugee boat on our spotting route. We noticed them around 6.00 as they were going towards Mytilene to drop the refugees off for registration.
We continued spotting further up the coast with Campfire, another NGO. Soon after, we noticed a second boat heading towards the shore. Responding quickly, we drove to where we estimated they would land. More information about working as a volunteer at Lesvos here.
The Coastguard, whose boat still had refugees onboard, turned and moved with dangerously high speed towards the dinghy, attempting to pick up the people from the second boat. By this time the dinghy was already in shallow waters and it was clear to us that it would be landing on the shore. Fortunately, the landing was safe and the volunteers pulled the dinghy on shore. Although some were crying, most of the people were calm. We formed a corridor from the sea to the shore and helped people to reach the safe area. There were 38 people, around eight children and three babies as well as elderly people and at least one pregnant woman among the refugees.
Their feet were wet, so we gave them dry socks, wrapped their feet in emergency blankets and encouraged them put their shoes back on. Even though their shoes were wet it will be a long time before they will get a new pair, as they are now residents of the infamous Moria camp. We looked for signs of distress or injury, gave them water and chatted with them. The people we spoke with were from Somalia, Syria, Eritrea and Morocco and they told us the crossing from Turkey had taken 2,5 hours. At this point Refugee4Refugees joined us.
After around 15 minutes the police arrived with a bus to transport them to Moria. We escorted them to the bus, helped them with their luggage and they waved goodbye as the bus left.