Disaster response Greece

Connectivity in Lesvos Refugee Camp

2020 - Ongoing
Published on Sep 25, 2020 05:08 PM  -  Updated on Jul 09, 2021 12:21 PM
TSF deployed on the ground soon after the fire. Our team installed the first Internet connection to cover the quarantine area of the Kara Tepe camp, where asylum seekers positive to COVID-19 are hosted.

Context: Population displacement
Start date: 17/09/2020
End date: ongoing
Area of intervention: Lesvos
Activity: Connectivity for population 

+9300 connected devices

+9 TB of data exchanged

Context

Between 8 and 10 September 2020, several fires broke out in the Moria Reception and Identification Centre on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The camp was completely destroyed and around 12,000 asylum seekers, after living for several days on the street, were relocated to Mavrovouni camp, which has been built in emergency at the North of the island’s main city Mytilene. Today, some 8,100 refugees and asylum-seekers reside on Lesvos. Of those, 6,050 (75%) reside in Mavrovouni. While the number of people arriving across Greece’s sea and land borders have decreased in the last months. the needs of asylum-seekers and refugees remain pressing.

Providing connectivity to refugees

A few days after the fires a team deployed from TSF HQ and installed a free Wi-Fi connection that covers the entrance and the quarantine zone of the camp. A few months later, in December 2020, the coverage was extended to a common area in the camp.

Connectivity is an essential need of the refugees as it enables them to remain in contact with their families, find important information about their situation, and follow the asylum application process.

In an extremely uncertain situation, in which they feel stuck on the island, without clear foresight on their future, the Internet access is a way to receive psychological relief by talking to their loved ones.  It offers them the possibility to conduct research on all the possible opportunities and develop a project for a brighter future based on the information they can find online.

The internet connection installed by TSF is offering a free link to the external world to people who have not only been living in harsh conditions for months, or even years, but who have also had to suffer the trauma of seeing their already precarious lives devastated by the fires and who now see their health in danger due to COVID-19.

TSF works in close collaboration with the local authorities and other organisations in the field to provide a suitable assistance to the refugees by leveraging the potential of technologies and telecommunications. As part of these collaborations, one of our teams deployed recently and recruited 6 volunteers, refugees themselves, from the local organisation Stand By Me Lesvos, to conduct an evaluation of the importance of TSF’s Wi-Fi connection.

Testimonies

TSF Wi-Fi is very important for me because it is my only option to be connected, I don’t have 4G. So it is my only option to learn the news, to stay connected and I think it is like this for many people. It is very useful.” - 17-year-old Afghan refugee.

“The free connection is essential for all of us. It allows us to be connected but also to be distracted and think about other things.” - 31-year-old Congolese refugee.

 “Not everyone can pay 4G and even if some of us can pay it, it’s important to have other options. So your connection is very good for us. Thank you.” – 45-year-old Syrian refugee.

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