26 May 2016

On the 24th of May, the Greek police started to evacuate the camp of Idomeni, a transit camp where thousands of refugees have been
stranded for over two months without adequate humanitarian assistance and with no access to asylum procedures. Photo: Amir Karimi/MSF

“We are worried. We don’t know where we will be taken”

Siham, 30 years old, is from Halab in Syria.  She was still in the camp of Idomeni on Wednesday morning when our staff collected this testimony by phone.
The police came early in the morning and took a lot of people away. Very few people are left in the camp now. My children are scared and I don’t know what to do. The people who have gone to the new official camps don’t like it there. I don’t know if I should go or cross the border illegally. But my husband, who is in Holland, doesn’t want us to go illegally.
There is very little food available here at the moment. People are worried if they don’t go to the new official camps and instead remain in Idomeni that they will not be given food. No one in my area has been evacuated yet. I still haven’t been told when I will be moved from here. Yesterday I found out from other people still in Idomeni camp that people along the railway were being taken away. And this morning other people that live closer to me were told that they would be removed too.

I feel extremely confused.  We used to feel hopeful in this camp. We were hoping the border would reopen at some point but things changed yesterday. Last night my children were crying from hunger. Very little food is available to us here.  I am alone with my three children here. We got separated from their father and my nine years old son seven months ago. They are both in Holland now.

We had found some stability here. I don’t know what will be our fate now. It is so frustrating. I want to know what will happen to us. It’s not normal and it is tense.
We are worried. We don’t know where we will be taken, we are told we will find out when we get off the bus at the new camp. We were told some time ago that we would be moved at some point but not by force.  I am tired of being here and I’m tired of living in fear. My husband says that my son in Holland is very upset and he misses me a lot. I just want my family to be reunited, please help us.

Idomeni Camp before evacuation began. Photo: Jodi Hilton/Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

“My children are scared.  I want to die and get out of this”
Nada, is 28 years and from Deir Sur in Syria. She lived in the camp of Idomeni for months and was removed on the 24 of May with the first group of people and is now inside the New Kavala camp. This is her testimony to one of our staff who followed some patients there for psychological support after she had walked more than one hour to get food and milk for her children.
Yesterday, many police officers turned up at Idomeni, they were wearing strange clothes, and they came from everywhere telling us to leave. We were scared they used tear gas. I have 7 children. I was worried something would happen to my children. Everyone was scared. The police were armed. All the families were scared for their lives and children.
Those who had money already crossed the border illegally. The ones who didn’t have money were hopeful the border would reopen. Or they would improve our living conditions there.
But our situation is terrible in the new camp. We are tired, we have had enough of living like this.  It’s not good, nothing is good here. The food is bad. The toilets and bathrooms are not clean. Idomeni was better.  We came here because Europe is supposed to be civilised, but where is the civilisation? Is this how you treat people in a civilised society? We have come to Europe to seek asylum. It’s our right to claim asylum.

My children are very upset. I cannot bathe them. The water point is very far from our tent. It is always extremely hot. How can I use it if it is so hot? I am worried about lack of hygiene in the new camp. I am worried we might catch scabies. My children are scared.  I want to die and get out of this.
It is not safe in Syria [bursts out crying, we stopped the interview then she wanted to continue].  They treated us badly in Syria. They treated us badly in Turkey. And they treat us badly in Europe. Why?  Are we not human beings too? I am not a human? Do I not have the right to live like them (the Europeans)?  Being dead is better.
We were given so much false hope. We were told the border would open so many times. Now they tell us a committee will come and relocate us to different countries but I don’t believe it. It is all lies. We feel humiliated, and we have no money left. We were given papers before we left Idomeni that said “You are stateless”.  Are we stateless?!

Find out more about MSF's work in Syria and Turkey