In September 2015, our partners Drop in the Ocean sent their first team to Chios to assist refugees as they arrived on the shores of the island. Their volunteers patrolled the shores day and night and provided a safe and warm welcome for the people fleeing wars and conflicts.
At that time there were no refugee camps on the island. It was up to local Greeks to provide tents, food and clothes in the park of Chios. The arrivals could stay there until they were registered, and then move on to the mainland to continue to other European countries.
After a couple of months larger organisations came to the island and together with Greek authorities the first camps were established. Tabakika, Souda, Vial, Dipethe. Drop in the Ocean assisted wherever there was a need for their services. In Souda, Drop in the Ocean have been present since the very beginning, establishing the food distribution system together with NRC.
Now Souda camp is closing down. The walls of the Castle of Chios will again tell the stories from ancient times, but they will also carry memories of the largest migration in Europe since WWII.
Now all the arrivals are being directed to Vial camp, which is already over capacity. Drop have offered their services to VIAL, but the authorities have ensured them that they will cover for those needs through their own resources.
“We would like to thank everyone we have cooperated with on Chios these past two years. Thank you, all the wonderful volunteers who have travelled to the island to give from their hearts and time. Thank you, all the organisations we have been working side by side with towards the same goal. Thank you, wonderful people of Chios! Many of you have been fighting to make the situation for the displaced people better. Many of you opened your hearts and your homes to assist.
Most of all, thank you to all the fantastic people who have been living in Souda and who we were privileged to get to know during an extreme period of their lives. We wish you all the best of luck.”
So, for now our partners say farewell to Chios. Take good care of the precious people who come your way. If we can ever assist again, we will be ready in no time.
As winter approaches, the weather continues to grow colder. Last year people lost their lives to hypothermia living in the conditions we see on Greek Islands. This will end in disaster if we don’t prepare for the oncoming cold climate. Please help us by donating today.