Global Perspectives | Bericht | 29. September 2020

David Miliband: “The experience in Moria cannot be an example for Europe to follow.”

GP Video Statement on the situation in the refugee camps on the greek islands Lesbos and Samos

David Miliband is President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programmes in 26 United States cities.

We asked him for a statement on the situation in the refugee camps on the greek islands Lesvos and Samos, the IRC’s engagement on site and the lessons Germany and Europe have to learn from this humanitarian crisis.

GP Video Statement - David Miliband

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been working in Lesbos since 2015 as part of their response to the Syrian war. “The fire that has swept through Moria Camp and displaced so many people was an absolute tragedy. We know that the situation in Moria had been no credit to the European values for which many of us stand, and we also know that the fire was an accident waiting to happen.”

The camp had been built for a maximum of 3.000 people. However, the ultimate amount staying there was between 15.000 – 20.000. Out of the 4.000 children staying there, 2.000 were unaccompanied minors.

All these were well-known facts. “Therefore it seems to me essential that we learn the right lessons from this crisis”, David Miliband emphasizes. This includes providing psycho-social support to refugees who are considering committing suicide. It includes the platform, which offers trustworthy information on where to find respective services.
It includes delivering food items, especially at the onset of winter. Moreover, the IRC is providing latrines and toilets to ensure basic sanitation standards.

“I am also highly conscious that we are living through a global pandemic”, David Miliband stresses. According to the last status, there were 34 cases of COVID-19 in Moria, yet the IRC’s President fears that this figure will be much higher by now.

“We are trying to use our experience with infection prevention and control to minimize the spread of the disease. This is especially important with a vulnerable population and with a weak infrastructure”, David Miliband concludes. “The experience in Moria cannot be an example for Europe to follow. We need to find a better way!”

More on This Topic: