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A Cemetery of Life Vests But Not Lives


A Cemetery of Life Vests But Not Lives

Bruno Stagno-Ugarte

Unlike islands elsewhere, Lesbos discards thousands of life vests every day. They litter its eastern and northern shores, coloring the beaches or floating aimlessly on the azure waters. For months now, they have been routinely collected by municipal workers and volunteers and unceremoniously discarded in a municipal dumpsite near the town of Molyvos. Each life vest was worn by one of the more than 450,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in 2015 alone who made the sea crossing from Turkey to this Greek island.


The migrant situation is a complete tragedy. There seems to be a huge gap. No one seems to be providing long-term assistance with psychological traumatization and integration. We feel that such assistance - and empowerment to do it for themselves - should be given to the migrants, to the staffs and volunteers working with them, and to all other people working with them (lawyers, people working with housing, etc.). Once trained and with some supervision, people can do this better themselves than professionals can do it. We, the Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace (CWWPP), are trying to get together a coalition of people and groups who will train and supervise trainers in all of these communities in regions from which migrants are coming, through which they are passing, and in which they are settling. If people are interested in working with us, please write to us at cwwppsummer at gmail.com. Thank you. Charles David Tauber, M.D., Head of Mission for Southeast Europe.