Raging fire sweeps through camp on Samos

By Jade Corbett

On October 14th this year, on an island off the coast of Greece, a devastating fire broke out at the Reception and Identification Centre of Samos, in a migrant camp home to almost 6,000 people. 

Fire in Samos

Following some unrest in the camp, a fire broke out at the Reception and Identification Centre of Samos. The police were already involved, as a stabbing had occurred during the conflict earlier in the day, from which three people were hospitalised. Though it was only constructed to house 650 people, this overcrowded camp contained 5,700 refugees and migrants, over half of which are women and children. It has been estimated that the fire destroyed approximately 700 tents, though the exact number is unknown. The tents contained precious resources that are invaluable to the lives of the migrants that live there. 

Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have been praised for their collaboration and rapid response to the crisis, as they pulled together to provide women and children with shelter on the night of the fire by opening multiple centres in the area. The following night, all those who had lost homes in the fire were also provided with shelter and a temporary place to stay. However, temporary is the key word in this situation, as the fire has left hundreds of people with even less than before, and in a far more unsafe position. Over the last week, this event has resulted in peaceful protests conducted by women and children asking to leave the island.

Indigo Volunteers was one such helping organisation; both volunteers placed by Indigo who were working with the responding NGOs and individual Indigo coordinators arrived on the scene that same night to help wherever needed. 

Fire in SamosIndigo’s representatives went looking for those with injuries, monitored the situation with the police, chaired organisational meetings, provided general support and transportation, and completed other essential tasks. Furthermore, they led two teams of 16 volunteers in total in the relocation of vulnerable women and children on the night of the fire. This kind of support is invaluable, not only in sudden emergencies but in the ongoing refugee and migrant crises in areas across Greece. 

The projects we work with are in real need of more assistance, especially as the winter months approach. One way that you can help us is by applying to volunteer, even if just for a few weeks. However, if you do not have the capacity to volunteer right now, there are other ways to support the essential work we do.

By donating to Indigo Volunteers you ensure that we can continue to assist organisations based in the heart of struggling communities and areas, sending aid both in the form of volunteers and general year-round support. In addition, even just spreading the word about the work we do or sharing the collective statement we made specifically about this crisis is hugely beneficial to us. The collective statement is published across our social media platforms, if this is something you are interested in following up on. 

Although the fire has been incredibly damaging to the residents of the camp, the fantastic response from NGOs has ensured that the affected people are being cared for as well as possible. However, this is not a one-off event. Volunteers are needed throughout the year, and do valuable work round the clock that is not as high-profile, but equally as life-changing, for those involved. 

We ask that existing and prospective members of the Indigo community use this event to inspire them, and consider how they too may be able to help. Giving up time, money, or even influence is hugely appreciated and makes a massive difference. Something that seems like a very small action on your part may change lives elsewhere.