Kara Tepe residents: the only thing that felt right was to support with immediate relief

"It wasn’t an easy position to take, but one that felt best for the residents who we know and respect. "

It is difficult to put into words our experiences from the past week. The reality of the closure of Kara Tepe. The movement of the most vulnerable residents into RIC Lesvos. The anguish, confusion and distress. Trying to give all that we have to provide them with support, answers, a softer landing in their new waiting place. 

In no way were we ever going to support the transfer to RIC Lesvos. These are the most vulnerable people on the move. These individuals should have never had to leave their lived reality of Kara Tepe in the first place. Even though the closure of Kara Tepe was something we did not have the power to stop, we did disagree about it from the very first announcement. 

It has been action mode for all those involved in Kara Tepe since the early hours of last Saturday morning. A pressing task for site management in the first place. We tried to mitigate the impact and therefore we were present there since the early hours. We were the first faces waiting in RIC Lesvos when the first 50 residents arrived. To calm and ease any potential unrest.  It wasn’t an easy position to take, but one that felt best for the residents who we know and respect. 

Since Saturday, we have been pushing for a humane process for these residents. The pregnant women, the unwell elderly, the disabled children. We transported mattresses to give a soft place to rest heads after a long day of waiting. We remained in dialogue with everyone involved especially the ones who were confused by the new challenging environment.

We did everything within our capacity to address the most pressing needs of the unfolding situation. Was it the right response? Should we have taken more of a  stand? Some may ask this… But when you have individuals questioning what you will do to help at that very moment, the only thing that feels right is to support with immediate relief. Whether that be words of comfort, a mattress, or just a simple acknowledgment of their emotions. 

As we have stated, time and time again, the spirit of Kara Tepe campUs and what it embodies will live on. We will continue to do all we can, within our capacity, and apply what we have learned to provide a dignified and safe place to those in waiting, wherever we can.

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