GREECE / GRANDI LESVOS REFUGEES

27-Nov-2019 00:04:53
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visited the Greek Aegean island of Lesvos to witness conditions at the island’s two main reception centres, Moria and Kara Tepe. UNHCR
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STORY: GREECE / GRANDI LESVOS REFUGEES
TRT: 04:53
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / ARABIC / NATS

DATELINE: 26-27 NOVEMBER 2019, MORIA RECEPTION CENTRE, KARA TEPE RECEPTION CENTRE, LESVOS, GREECE
SHOTLIST
26 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

1. Wide shot, Aegan sea and Lesvos
2. Wide shot, pull focus from the cliffs to barbed wire
3. Wide shot, Lesvos shore
4. Various shots, pile of discarded life jackets left over by refugees and migrants
5. Pan right, Moria Reception Centre

27 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

6. Wide shot, new arrivals arriving to Moria Reception Centre
7. Close up, new arrival holding his child
8. Wide shot, new arrivals
9. Wide shot, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi looking at the new arrivals
10. Med shot, Grandi talking to a newly arrived asylum seeker
11. Various shots, Moria Reception Centre
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“I came here during the time of the big influx of people in early 2016. Then numbers declined, but they are rising again though not to the same extent. And the problems that have prevailed here for so long are exacerbated by this. Overcrowding, poor services, violence, long periods of wait.”

26 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

13. Wide shot, olive grove area adjacent to Moria Reception Centre
14. Various shots, refugees in the olive grove area washing

27 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We’ve heard the plans by the new government and of course we are encouraged to hear that they will focus on important aspects of the situation: better accommodation, transfer to the mainland, faster processes to determine the legal status and the future of these people and attention like I said for the children, for the unaccompanied children in particular.”
16. Tracking shot of Grandi touring Moria Reception Centre
17. Med shot, asylum seekers queueing
18. Close up Grandi
19. Pan left, Grandi walking
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“There needs to be solidarity, there needs to be compassion, there needs to be an understanding that what Greece is doing with incredible generosity and openness needs to be shared more widely.”

26 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

21. Various shots, olive grove area adjacent to Moria
22. Tilt down, asylum seekers walking in the mud
23. Pan left, Syrian refugee Ibrahim walking in between tents
24. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ibrahim, Syrian Refugee:
“Every day there is bombing and destruction in Jabal Al Zawi, 90 percent have left the area, I was afraid for my children, my oldest son died, and I was afraid for the rest of my children. We don’t want blood and destruction, but there is no other solution. There is destruction all the time.”
25. Various shots, Ibrahim with his children
26. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ibrahim, Syrian Refugee:
“My only hope is to get out of this camp, I want my children to go to school, I have children who haven’t even gone to school. I want them to learn. That is my hope, to get my children out, I’m 49-50 years old and I don’t want anything more from this world than to look after my children.”

27 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

27. Wide shot, Grandi greeted by children at Kara Tepe Reception Centre
28. Pan right, Grandi touring Kara Tepe
29. Various shots, conversation between Filippo Grandi and Syrian refugee Ibtisam and her family

26 NOVEMBER 2019, LESVOS, GREECE

30. Med shot, asylum seekers waiting to be transferred to mainland Greece
31. Med shot, asylum seekers getting onto the bus
32. Wide shot, asylum seekers
33. Wide shot, asylum seekers waving at those leaving
34. Wide shot, Greek army truck taking asylum seekers belongings
35. Wide shot, buses leaving with the asylum seekers
STORYLINE
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visited the Greek Aegean island of Lesvos to witness conditions at the island’s two main reception centres, Moria and Kara Tepe.

At Moria, which is already 7 times its capacity with over 16,000 asylum seekers, he called on European countries to support Greece’s efforts to strengthen its asylum system and to open up relocation places for vulnerable asylum seekers, particularly unaccompanied children.

Greece is currently struggling to cope with a sharp increase in sea arrivals, the highest since 2016. In this year alone, Greece received over 65,000 people, a figure 80 percent higher than last year. The majority are Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi families. The increase in arrivals has put even greater pressure on the frontline islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, and Leros, where asylum seekers face dire conditions in overcrowded facilities.

Grandi spoke to officials about the challenges they face meeting the needs of asylum seekers. He also met with 43-year old Syrian refugee Ibtisam who currently lives in Kara Tepe. She fled her homeland with her children after her husband was killed and is currently waiting for her asylum claim to be accepted.

Since 2015, Greece has transformed from a country of transit to a country of asylum.

It has been over 3 years since the High Commissioner’s first visit to Lesvos, and he saw first-hand the conditions in the centres and spoke of support needed to mitigate the overcrowding. Arrivals continue on a daily basis, in November the numbers of asylum seekers reached 7,582.

Walking through Moria Reception Centre, the High Commissioner responded to the latest measures by the Greek government to cope with the rise in arrivals. In the last year, Greece has received more arrivals than Spain, Italy, Malta and Cyprus combined.

SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“I came here during the time of the big influx of people in early 2016. Then numbers declined, but they are rising again though not to the same extent. And the problems that have prevailed here for so long are exacerbated by this. Overcrowding, poor services, violence, long periods of wait.”

The High Commissioner reacted to the latest government measures to alleviate pressures on the islands as well as recent measures to protect unaccompanied children.

SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“We’ve heard the plans by the new government and of course we are encouraged to hear that they will focus on important aspects of the situation: better accommodation, transfer to the mainland, faster processes to determine the legal status and the future of these people and attention like I said for the children, for the unaccompanied children in particular.”

During his tour of the camp, he highlighted the need for solidarity with Greece, which has become a frontline country since 2015.

SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
“There needs to be solidarity, there needs to be compassion, there needs to be an understanding that what Greece is doing with incredible generosity and openness needs to be shared more widely.”

In the olive grove area around Moria reception centre, thousands of tents have sprung up to cope with the surge in arrivals. 49-year-old Syrian refugee Ibrahim, originally from a village on the outskirts of Idlib, in northeast Syria, fled the country after his family home was bombed, over four months ago.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ibrahim, Syrian Refugee:
“Every day there is bombing and destruction in Jabal Al Zawi, 90 percent have left the area, I was afraid for my children, my oldest son died, and I was afraid for the rest of my children. We don’t want blood and destruction, but there is no other solution. There is destruction all the time.”

The former shop keeper, who oldest son was killed in the conflict, spoke of the daily challenges of living in the camp and the long wait for his asylum claim to be processed. He and 6 other members of his family are crammed in a small wooden shack covered with plastic sheeting, that he himself built.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ibrahim, Syrian Refugee:
“My only hope is to get out of this camp, I want my children to go to school, I have children who haven’t even gone to school. I want them to learn. That is my hope, to get my children out, I’m 49-50 years old and I don’t want anything more from this world than to look after my children.”

Grandi also visited the nearby Kara Tepe Reception Centre managed by the Municipality of Mytilene and UNHCR, where some 1,300 asylum seekers are currently living. Afterwards, he met 43-year old Syrian widow Ibtisam and her three children and niece. Ibtisam’s husband, sister, brother in law and 2 nephews were killed in a bomb attack in Der El Zor. After being internally displaced inside Syria, she fled with her family to Greece, via Turkey. She arrived in Lesvos four months ago hoping to get treatment for her 15-year-old son Mostafa who is blind and needs a cornea transplant. Her youngest son Imad, is also autistic and needs specific care.

At the Moria reception centre, on the evening before the High Commissioner’s arrival, there were scenes of emotion as 3 buses departed carrying over 100 asylum seekers who were to be transferred to various hotels on the mainland. But thousands more need to be moved to the mainland before the onset of winter.
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