She is eight months old and her little body is lost at sea. On Wednesday evening we received news to head to the port authority with blankets, mats, food and water. On arrival shocking scenes of grief, despair and desperation awaited us as the port police and doctors tried, with as much respect as possible and as diligently as possible, to match up family members. Ten boats, again not fit for purpose, had crashed into rocks on the opposite side of Samos island. Despite the bravery of some on board, one young man and 3 children were washed overboard and lost their lives. One young girl is still recovering in hospital after being revived on shore and one angel was not found.
The parents had to identify their children from photographs taken at the hospital. Offering as much help and comfort as we could, anger again begins to build. We hold the Turkish Government totally responsible for the death of these young people…It is absolutely impossible for an operation of this size to continue on Turkish shores without their knowledge….This is no longer just a political game but an insane game of roulette with people’s lives. There were two thousand people at Samos port again last night needing help while waiting to continue their journey. Samos is now second only to Lesbos in terms of the numbers arriving each day.
Yesterday morning we joined the bereaved family members at the hospital to help with funeral arrangements and offer support and solidarity. The bodies will be buried here in Samos before the families continue their journey …. Where they find the strength… I can’t imagine. The funerals will take place on Monday. We have spent time with the families, seen their loss , spoke of the children and young man, seen their pictures, know their names … but the families, although partly the responsibility of all of us, are still grieving and deserve some privacy and dignity so we are not publishing any names.
As for the port… some updates Members of IOCC ….. joined us late last week and are already in the process of plumbing up new toilets and showers. One of the coordinators from the UN now join Derek and I on the port at night after the ships leave and distribute some blankets to those still sleeping on the quayside… all massive improvements to basic needs. I can not speak for other islands but here on Samos, life would be even harder for those arriving if not for the brilliant solidarity and humanity of local civil society and small local groups. Groups such as “The friendly humans” who distribute breakfast every morning, then cook hot meals for a few hundred every evening, The “Archipelagos” marine Institute” that allow their store to be used for aid donations, both local and international and allow some volunteers to stay in their premises and all the local groups here, groups in general who offer all kinds of help.
The weather is very changeable… though the nights continue to get colder. Large storms late last week meant less boats arrived so we managed to clean out all the cabins, washed out and ready for the hundreds that arrived as soon as the storms subsided.
Please remember the bodies waiting to be buried, the young mans life cut short, the tiny body of eight month old child still missing at sea, the pain and anguish of their families. Sadly there will be more . There are still thousands beginning a journey through Europe’s harsh winter and closed frontiers.
For 25 euro we can provide a pop up tent to at least keep a family dry on the port. 10 euro will buy a lot of rain poncho’s that keep clothes and bags dry both here and on the journey ahead. Share our posts. We need as much help as possible. You can donate via PayPal or email us for bank details or suggestions on best to help.’We had problems with internet this week but we are back on line now.
As always, your support and solidarity is appreciated and deeply needed.