A vessel carrying 67 migrants of various nationalities was found on the island of Kythera early on Thursday morning. It is the third such vessel located on the island in the last 48 hours and brings the total number of refugees stranded on Kythera, without any facilities nor help from official agencies, to 236.
The media reported that the 236 people, among them 40 women and children and one pregnant woman, have been left stranded and helpless at the port of Kapsali, under the hot sun with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.
Three Turkish nationals have been arrested as alleged human traffickers.
As Kythera is without a migrant centre or suitable hosting facilities, residents and visitors to the island have been scrambling to help in any way that they can, setting up a clean space with shades for the dozens of stranded refugees and distributing beach umbrellas, food, water and basic essentials such as shoes.
Μέσα σε λίγες ώρες ομάδα εθελοντών-αλληλέγγυων (ντόπιων αλλά & ανθρώπων που κάνουμε διακοπές στα Κύθηρα) στήσαμε ένα αξιοπρεπή χώρο για να φιλοξενηθούν οι πρόσφυγες. Καθαρίσαμε τον χώρο, πήραμε τα απαραίτητα μέτρα για πυρασφάλεια και εξασφαλίσαμε νερό,φάρμακα & φαγητό#Κυθηρα pic.twitter.com/FcCJ2NSQiq
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According to local volunteers, there were no food provisions even for the uniformed port guards and policemen who, with the migrants, are also “baking under the August sun."
“Among them are many children and women suffering under the hot sun”, said local resident Manolis Charos.
Local painter Manolis Charos told media, “We give food and water to them,” adding that the lack of island resources was exemplified by the fact that port officers did not even have handcuffs available for use in the arrest of the three Turkish nationals detained as traffickers on Wednesday.
“We were looking for plastic handcuffs from plumbers and electricians,” he added, describing the harsh conditions that were being experienced by the children and especially the women, who are mostly from Afghanistan and have remained stranded the hot sun, heavily clothed.
“Even some beach umbrellas, which were distributed, are practically useless, since they have no base and are the kind that are twisted into the sand. But people are on hot concrete,” said fellow volunteer Despina Varderis.
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