Two years after the migrant crisis peaked many NGOs have moved on—but help is still needed, and conditions in the Moria refugee camp have continued to worsenby David Tonge / September 6, 2017 / Leave a comment
It is 8.45 in the evening at the lighthouse above the Korakas reefs in northern Lesvos—sunset, and time for the two lookouts to reach for their night-vision binoculars. Normally, the refugees’ dinghies do not arrive until after midnight. Except that there is no normal. Sometimes, it is the day-time team spotting from Mount Lepetymnos who detect one of the dinghies which has got through the Turkish Coast Guards’ “push back.” But mostly the refugees set off after night falls, aim at the Korakas light, and then need to be saved from its treacherous reefs.
Much has changed since the human flood across the Aegean in 2015. That year, one million refugees entered Europe and half of these did so by crossing the six miles from Turkey to Lesvos in the northern Aegean. In October alone, 135,063 refugees came to the island, around 100 boats arriving each day, the local fishermen doing what they could to save those on the perilously overcrowded small rubber dinghies and bring them to the island’s northern fishing ports of Skala Sykamineas and Molyvos.