A day on Lesvos – working on the North Coast

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10:00 Driving from Molyvos past Eftalou, I pass several abandoned boats, engines and anything else of value removed for sale or reuse. I have an appointment with Philippa Kempson at her house in Eftalou around 10 am. Together with her husband Eric, she has lived more than 15 years on Lesvos, normally the owner of a wood-carving shop, but after the migrants started arriving she and her  husband have been involved full-time in the relief effort, with their house being transformed into a clothes sorting and storage facility.

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11:30 Not far from Eftalou I see the first migrant boat arriving. Actually this is my first day here and the first time I see a boat arrival, though we are a bit late. Still there are far more volounteers than migrants on the beach. I am with Philippa Kempson, who has kindly offered to show me around together with a three British guys who also arrived yesterday and are following us in their car. She also offered to drive in her car as the unpaved 17km road to Skala Sykaminea is quite rough!

The Swedish Dr. Sanna working in the Adventist Help bus in Platanos. Photo @Birgitte Graf via Disaster MedicsThe Swedish Dr. Sanna working in the Adventist Help bus in Platanos. Photo @Birgitte Graf via Disaster Medics

13:00 Driving from Eftalou to Skala Sykaminea I have the opportunity to get introduced t o all the different groups working on the coast. I am here with Team Positive Action and plan to spend the fist couple of days figuring out where my skills (trauma surgeon/emergency medicine) may be most useful. As of now, it looks like my skills are most needed in the area around Skala Sykaminea, where IsraAid, Lighthouse and Disaster Medics also are present.

A rubber boat arriving in the afternoon of November 12th near Skala SykamineasA rubber boat arriving in the afternoon of November 12th near Skala Sykamineas

15:00 Close to Platanos, another rubber boat full of migrants came in. This time, there were not too many  volounteers around, and everything went very smoothly and non-dramatic with the very calm and professional Spanish Lifeguards.

IMG_2616The harbour of Skala Sykaminea, life vests still present after a boat landing the day before

16:00 Meeting at the Skala harbour with volounteers from several groups including Lighthouse Relief, IsraAid and Disaster Medics to discuss a mass casualty plan.

IMG_2802Cleaning the beaches and removing lifevests is a both huge and necessary task

17:30 Driving back the beach road to Skala Sykaminea, narrowly avoiding a frontal collision with a volounteer driving very fast in a 4WD. Too much traffic here.

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18:00 When passing the harbour of Skala, I noticed a big boat with more than 100 people have just come in. Not too many volounteers were present, so I just had a quick look, but there were no apparent emergencies, so I headed back to Molyvos via Sykaminea on the paved road. I passed several young migrants walking up the hill to the Transit camp, and narrowly avoided hitting a Group of them walking in the middle of the dark road with dark clothes on.

Further info:
Overview of all posts on Lesvos and Lesvos FAQ for volunteers.

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