It was about 2.30am one morning and our Lesvos rescue team members Dan and Sim were sitting in their wetsuits, with their binoculars, scanning the Southern Lesvos shoreline for incoming boats.
It was pitch black, and a pretty foggy night, when about 50 metres out to sea they noticed a flash…the light of an incoming boat.
They jumped up and ran into the water to meet the approaching boat, soon noticing the silence coming from within. Sometimes people arrive cheering, if the crossing has been smooth, sometimes screaming, in complete terror as the boat beneath them slowly fills with water, sometimes crying with the trauma; but from this boat, they heard nothing, not a sound… You could have heard a pin drop, Dan said it was the eeriest thing.
Dan and Sim were the only two people there to meet the shell-shocked, shivering people in that boat that night, and as it grew closer and their head torches scanned the vacant faces, the desperation was heavy and evident in the air.
Dan and Sim helped the boat to shore, welcoming people to the safety of European land, taking their ice-cold hands in theirs to steady their first, wobbly footsteps on European soil.
Suddenly Dan noticed this baby, tiny, in the arms of his father. Helping them off, Dan passed the baby into the arms of some volunteers who had just arrived and alerted Dan and Sim of another incoming boat 50 metres down the road, a dangerously rocky area, a potentially fatal place for the inflatable boat to be nearing… Dan and Sim ran as fast as they could to meet it….
Once that second boat and it’s inhabitants were also safely to shore and being looked after by other volunteers, Dan climbed back across the rocks to find this baby in the arms of another volunteer. Turned out she was just 20 days old and her mother had sacrificed her own crossing from Turkey to Lesvos (it costs upwards of $1000), to give her daughter the chance of a new, safe future. The baby’s father was being treated for severe shock.
Dan and the incredible volunteers working on the island proceeded to do all they could to look after this vulnerable pair, providing them with medical support, warm meals, dry clothes and love until they were ready for the next leg of their journey…
Little did this father know, the traumatic journey was far from over, in fact, it has only just begun… Ahead of them, the pair have the freezing cold, flooded camp of Idomeni, the tear-gassing and bulldozing of the Calais Jungle, or even worse, new arrivals now have the very real, possibility of being sent back…
The recent EU-Turkey law states that anyone now arriving on Lesvos will be criminalised and sent to the Moria detention centre. Hire-wired barbed fences manned by armed security surround the compound and mobile phones and personal items are taken away on entry.
In running away from war, suffering, oppression, torture, genocide and trauma, these heroic people are locked up and sent back into the mouth of death.
WHAT THE FUCK EU?
Our team will be there till the end, doing everything we can to stand in solidarity with those who need us so badly right now.