The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, accompanied by Migration and Asylum Minister, Notis Mitarachi and the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Greece, Stella Ronner-Grubačić, visited the new health unit at the Reception and Identification Center in Moria on the island Lesvos on Thursday.
The unit which contains 62 regular beds and 4 beds for emergency care and is staffed by doctors and nurses and by collaborating NGOs, will help decongest the Mytilini hospital and manage the coronavirus pandemic more effectively, Mitarachi said.
"It has up to date equipment and can effectively manage all needs that could arise in Moria in the next months," he added.
Responding to a press question on decongesting the hotspot, Mitarachi said that half of the refugees and migrants living there in February 2020 had been transferred, while new arrivals were being dealt with.
Επισκέφτηκα σήμερα το ΚΥΤ της Μόριας, τη νέα υγειονομική μονάδα, τη Δομή Φιλοξενίας Ασυνόδευτων Ανηλίκων Ηλιακτίδα ΑΜΚΕ και το Κέντρο Φιλοξενίας Αιτούντων Άσυλο Καρά Τεπέ. Συνομίλησα με υπευθύνους και μέλη του προσωπικού και συνάντησα ασυνόδευτους ανηλίκους. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/fSo1NQJ3Ow
— President GR (@PresidencyGR) August 20, 2020
On her part, Sakellaropoulou said that "Greece was called upon to pay a great deal, to lift a very important part of the burden of the refugee and immigration problem for the whole of Europe. And especially Lesvos together with some other islands. The mobile health unit that we see and that the Dutch government had the initiative to create and we must applaud it, is proof of European solidarity, which is what we asked from the very start. Europe must realise that it has to support and assume part of this burden."
The President of the Republic thanked the Ambassador "on behalf of the entire Greek people, because it really is an important unit that can help us have a better and more humane treatment for these desperate people in Moria."
Sakellaropoulou also visited the Museum of Refugee Memory 1922 in Skala Loutron. There she drew parallels between the refugees of the Asia Minor disaster of 1922 who arrived on Lesvos and the migrants and refugees of today.
Lesvos in particular has a very strong memory of those times and it is important for the third generation to learn about them, she noted. Local society at the time, she said, reacted "and there were difficulties, but [refugees] were integrated at the end, and were accepted, built their homes and lives here, had families and created a rich cultural tradition" on Lesvos.
She cautioned that "not all phenomena are the same, and perhaps they do not produce the same tension," but she added there was always a positive side to problems and they could be managed.