HomeNewsDeaths in Greece wildfires spotlight the plight of asylum seekers Receive US

Deaths in Greece wildfires spotlight the plight of asylum seekers Receive US

Athens, Greece – The invention of 18 our bodies within the Greek wildfires – regarded as asylum seekers – has prompted new dialogue across the plight of these on the transfer within the nation.

Greek authorities discovered the stays of 18 folks within the nationwide forest of Dadia on Tuesday, within the northeastern Greek area of Evros the place the blaze remains to be raging.

The group, reportedly made up of two youngsters and 16 adults, was probably attempting to flee from the flames, in accordance with the native coroner Pavlos Pavlidis, who stated the youngsters had been between 10 and 15 years previous.

It was individually reported that the physique of a person was discovered on Monday additionally presumed to be an asylum seeker.

Locals have needed to abandon properties and livelihoods to flee the fires as villages and even the principle hospital in Alexandroupoli, the area’s capital, had been evacuated.

Volunteers attempt to extinguish a hearth burning a home, as a wildfire burns in Menidi, close to Athens [Elias Marcou/Reuters]

The Evros area shares a land border with Turkey and lies alongside a well-trodden route for asylum seekers crossing into Europe from Turkey.

The world is extremely monitored by Greek authorities and there have been ongoing experiences of unlawful and brutal pushbacks of asylum seekers, which authorities adamantly deny.

Some individuals who used this route, which consists of swathes of forests, have beforehand described to Al Jazeera how they’ve hidden to keep away from detection.

Alarm Cellphone, an emergency hotline incessantly contacted by folks on the transfer in misery, instructed Al Jazeera that they had been involved with a lot of teams of individuals within the area in latest days who described being threatened by the flames, however stated had been equally afraid of being pushed again over the border.

Alarm Cellphone stated the realm was basically a “no-man’s land” for asylum seekers.

The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum expressed “nice unhappiness” on the information of the deaths, however added that “regardless of the fixed and protracted efforts of the Greek authorities to guard the borders and human life, this tragedy confirms, as soon as once more, the hazards of irregular immigration”, and denounced “the murderous exercise of felony traffickers”.

A firefighting helicopter
A helicopter sprays down water as a wildfire burns in Menidi, close to Athens [Elias Marcou/Reuters]

The Civil Safety Ministry additionally expressed condolences, however added “the unlucky foreigners, whereas they had been forbidden to be within the forest … and regardless of a number of 112 messages to Greeks and foreigners within the space, didn’t go away”.

It isn’t recognized if the group had working cellphones, understood the language of the messages or knew it was forbidden to be within the forest.

Two Greeks and one Albanian had been arrested on Tuesday after posting a video on-line of a gaggle of individuals presumed to be asylum seekers locked in a trailer.

Within the video, the person accused migrants of getting began the fires however provided no proof and none has emerged that that is the case.

Conspiracy theories

The Border Violence Monitoring Community (BVMN), a coalition of greater than 14 organisations, in a press release with Lena Karamanidou, a famous researcher on Evros, pointed to far-right galvanisation round conspiracy theories that migrants had been accountable for the fires.

They stated that figures similar to Kyriakos Velopoulos, a member of parliament and chief of the far-right social gathering Hellenic Answer had shared the video of the folks locked within the trailer.

“But once more, a tragic state of affairs has been manipulated in charge folks on the transfer themselves for their very own deaths, and to strengthen hyperlinks between migration and criminality that has led to the proliferation of mobilised right-wing teams within the area,” the BVMN stated, criticising the response of some Greek authorities.

“Greece’s intense deal with migration has come at the price of its land and its residents, with tens of tens of millions of euros poured into high-tech Closed Managed Entry Centres and the Automated Border Surveillance Programs used to ‘stop entry’ of two,170 undocumented individuals between the 14th and seventeenth of August, and arrest 29 alleged human traffickers,” they stated.

“But, there have been few fire-preparedness measures taken for the wildfires that everybody knew had been coming, and which have destroyed Greece’s pure panorama and razed properties and livelihoods to the bottom,” BVMN added.

Eftychia Georgiadi, Worldwide Rescue Committee’s head of programmes in Greece, instructed Al Jazeera it was “devastating that no less than 18 folks have needlessly misplaced their lives”.

“No person needs to be pressured to hunt shelter within the forest and left with out ample safety,” Georgiadi stated.

She stated – as soon as confirmed – the deaths “reveal the lethal penalties of the EU’s failure to agree on a humane, sustainable asylum system”.

“This lack of coordinated motion leaves folks uncovered to grave risks at each step of their journeys seeking safety in Europe,” Georgiadi stated, including it was important “the EU and its member states uphold the elemental proper to use for asylum, and create extra protected routes in order that fewer persons are left with no possibility however to danger their lives on such harmful journeys”.


Alarm Cellphone instructed Al Jazeera that asylum seekers transferring by means of the area had develop into “invisible”, and despatched a listing of the teams that they had misplaced contact with in latest days in addition to a list of experiences of pushbacks and violence within the space.

“No person implied that foreigners set the fires on Rhodes one month in the past,” they stated, “state mechanisms – not simply Greek – did every part to evacuate vacationers”, and highlighted the distinction between how worldwide media focussed closely on vacationers impacted by the fires on Rhodes earlier this summer time in comparison with the muted response now.

The group instructed Al Jazeera that local weather change added an additional layer of violence to the lives and therapy of these on the transfer.

“The comparability between how foreigners are handled throughout disasters in Greece exhibits that the correct to life is arbitrarily decided primarily based on racist and colonial socioeconomic requirements.”

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