Ritsona Camp under COVID-19 pressure
For years, Ritsona Refugee Camp was the common house for almost nine hundred refugees. Today, the camp provides accommodation facilities for more than three thousands refugees from the islands, most of them are vulnerable.
I am Parwana Amiri, one of these new arrivals, who could find peace, dignity, primary education, health care, entertainment and all that a human needs for a normal life, under one camp - Ritsona Refugee Camp.
Life`s world changed here for us, people could get back their normal moral state. Communication became much stronger than what it was before. But we are all under a huge pressure of a common problem - COVID-19 - that has a single solution: stay at home to keep your safety!
That is almost impossible when you are a part of more than four thousand people, and live in a common house with more than eight persons .
While all through the world, the rule is to stay at home temporarily, here it is just to stay in the camp, but it can not be logical while people are in a close contact with each other every single moment, without having any information about what it is going on throughout the world or ways of protecting themselves and their children.
All organizations and NGOs are temporarily closed, as no one knows how long it will take to find a certain solution. IOM and the medical organization are the only organizations who are still active and give primary services to people.
We all cook at home with the foodstuffs given for the first time by the authorities and with what we can find from internal shops of the camp.
Playgrounds of the camp are open and children still pass their days there. Fortunately we are lucky that our camp has not had any case of COVID-19(Coronavirus ) yet, but this virus does not have any borders and treats all equally.
WE ARE WORRIED
Youths are the source of power anywhere, and here it is the same. Before that the lockdown started in the camp and all through Greece, the authorities started informing people about self-protection with resident community groups, but unfortunately they could not continue their programs. After this, I started having some campaigns with the youths of my community, which was so positive and helpful for many as they transferred all the information that they learned during the campaigns and the posters we made.
But there is no rule and no one can keep the children at home. When there are no toys or entertainment at home, it is so hard for their mothers to control them. Children go out and have close contact with each other, and this is not safe for them.This is what doctors are afraid of.
Earth is in equality and this virus treats us all equally, but we are not treated equally yet.
For us, this camp is a common home. While you have to stay at home, we have to stay in the camp where there is no guarantee of health safety.
We are in such close contact with each other like closed chains. If one of us will have it, in less than one week half of the camp will become patients, and children will be the first victims .
THE CHAIN HAS BEEN BROKEN !
What we were afraid of happened , an African pregnant woman after giving birth in Athens , got infected by Corona virus and after being in touched in the camp among 63 person , 20 positive results confirmed .
Quarantine started from today 02/04/2020. People are in panic and they are trying to keep their distace with African regions , that will not decrease the risk.
With this treat of other communities , African residents raised their cruise in the camp more than ever with slogans ( Africans have NO corona ).
However the Internation Organization for Migrants(IOM) one of the official actors of the camp announced that they will begin to distribute food baskets and hygiene kites to camp residents , adding that people would continue to have access to medicine but not clearly when whatever the residents prepare their food in the homes , they started buying what their necessities from internal shops of the camp , but most of people are not able to buy their necessities as the bank cashes that were going to receive on the beginning of this month ,delayed on 20th of the month
Close contact of people with each other , having no mask , less access of them to medicines they need as vulnerables is increasing the risk more than any time else.
14 days quarantine for residents from goverment and emphasized by active NGOs of the camp with sending messages to residents every moment . But still diferrent resons push the residents to go out and provides their necessities, mainwhile police started their activities to control the cruises of people in the camp.
As among of 63 person and 20 positive cases of disease , that were the ones with the most close contact with first case had no and symptomes of disease , but still the general tests from all residents have nor started yet , that shows any one can have it . But , the first condition that is ( having 1 or 2 meters distance ) has not seem between residents while being in qeues in the doctor or while shoping yet.
Play grounds become empty and families are trying to keep their children at home as much as possible , but living with 8 more person that are almost all vulnreable can not be safe for them.
This virus with such speed can difuse between people fast and easily.
Praying is the only thing they are facing to , almost all of the are trying to eat less and waiting to have the monthly bank cashes .