The volunteers and I were right on our discussions about the Schengen deal. We were surmising that Schengen would just be the beginning. True enough the next day the EU had a meeting and gave Greece the ultimatum of 3 months to stop the flow of refugees or be kicked out of the EU as well. Of course this has more to do with the economic finances more than anything, but the EU can use the refugees as a scapegoat just like Schengen. The EU had been trying to give Greece the boot for the past two years, so now they have the leverage. This has more than Greece’s finances though. Some of the EU nations can use Greece to prove that the EU and the euro are part of a broken system, so it goes much deeper. Of course this was just a blip on the international news because the governments and media do not want the world to see this happen. If the world was to see this, more especially the US and other nations that could possibly interfere, their plan may stop or slow down.
The EU told Greece that they have one of the largest navys so they should have no problem in stopping the refugees. It seems much easier said than done. Either Greece must sink the refugees, turn them around so that the Turkish Coast Guard can sink them, or immediately detain them and deport them. The EU also proposed a camp for the refugees for 500,000 refugees either in Turkey or Greece, which has never been done in world history. This would be the biggest squalor of human-rights violations, death, sickness, and hopeless despair. The EU also offered Greece 50,000 euro off of their debt, which is tempting when balancing their debt or lose all trade and the euro. If Greece continues to accept refugees the EU wants to build a fence across the northern frontier and have an army standing there to stop both refugees and Greeks from entering into the EU.
We lost another boat, some survived, at least 24 are confirmed dead. All efforts to spot boats has come to a screeching halt due to the international fiasco. The world and local governments seem to be working against the volunteers and refugees right now. It’s all about the money. It’s heart-wrenching to know that there is so much that we can do to prevent these human losses, yet our hands are tied. If we try to go out and spot boats we could end everything for volunteers on Samos. We have to accept that we do everything and more in our power, and must take joy in the lives we have changed.
The warehouse is a beauty compared to what it used to be. The negative side is I see what we are low on, have nothing of, or looking at the long-term know what we will not have. Eventually donations from Europe both in shipments and money will dry up or else the donors will grow weary of the same fundraisers. If a large disaster happens elsewhere then a large portion of our donations will stop because donors will shift their attention. “Managing” the warehouse has me worried about the long-term sustainability more than most volunteers, but then I also volunteered at Lesvos. Lesvos has hit the wall a while ago, we still have yet to start telling the refugees we have nothing to give, but the day will soon arrive. Luckily for now we have donors come and purchase the immediate needs here. One of our shipping containers was redirected to a camp in Syria, and the other one is in limbo, partially due to the ferry-strike, partially due to the three plus shipping time-line. The last time we received a shipping container was the 5th of January. Right now men’s shoes, all ages and genders socks and underwear, hats and gloves are only available because of donors who come here. If we do not get a container in the next week we will have to start turning refugees away for certain items.
I’ve been working slightly longer days at the warehouse so that I can spend the next day searching in the un-sorted boxes for the impending needs as well as preparing for the next day for the volunteers sent to the warehouse. The past few days there has only been one or two others besides myself here. Everything that we do all day gets immediately sent to the camp, there is no getting ahead unless I work longer. Everything is ready and in place if I had a group of volunteers sent, but right now we are down to less than 10. We have lost about two-thirds of the volunteers since I first arrived, I am thankful for the time and work that the volunteers did put it before they left. There is no way that we could handle the influx of refugees had it not been for their hard work and dedication.
I must say influx because due to the international politics every refugee is clamoring to get into Europe before it is too late. There is also the fact that the refugees do talk to each other and know the routes to travel. Already this year the amount of refugees coming across the Greek isles have double from this time last January. We had over 1.1 million refugees come into Greece in 2015, and the estimate was 2 million for 2016. This was before the propositions by the EU and Schengen. Every refugee knows that there is a deadline, and they pass it on to their families and friends back home. We are going to see a mass migration in the next couple of weeks/months. We are short on funds, clothing/shoes, and volunteers. Yet we will continue on as we always do; I have seen miracles happen already.