Corona as a Risk Factor at Europe's External Borders

First thing to say: We also participated in another hackathon, which was calles WirVsVirusHack, where we found our group. But we are still looking for other team members from other European countries!

If we do not evacuate the refugee camps at Europe’s external borders now, the consequences of the pandemic will be devastating. Our inactions will lead to a humanitarian crisis.


We are in this together: We vs. Corona! The corona virus is spreading rapidly and endangers the lives of the most vulnerable of our society. In order to protect the ones who are most at risk (elderly, poor, immunocompromised and homeless people), we must do everything possible to slow down the spread of the corona virus. We restrict our social contacts, respect safety distances and hygiene regulations. We show solidary. Every day, there are new regulations for the protection of everyone. These regulations cannot end at our borders.

Refugee camps could become death traps! Especially in refugee camps at European external borders on the Greek islands, the situation is catastrophic. The struggle of vulnerable groups like refugees keeps diminishing out of the public eye. At the same time, there is no time left to evacuate the camps. If there is an outbreak of the corona virus in the camps, any attempt to contain and even slow it down will fail. To implement the same protective measures taken in European societies in order to protect everyone is simply impossible in the camps. More than 20,000 people currently live in Camp Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos, which was originally intended for 3,000 people. There is hardly any access to water, soap, medical care, and sufficient infrastructure.

Can´t Wash My Hands! What happens when there is no possibility to wash one’s hands or follow the minimal hygiene regulations? What happens, when someone gets infected with the corona virus in places like these?

Europe and Germany cannot fail the refugee camps If the corona virus reaches one of the refugee camps, it will be a disaster for the people currently living there. There is hardly any access to medical care and no possibility of quarantine.

How can you stay home when you live with up to six people on three square meters? How can you wash your hands regularly when there is a water tap for 1300 people and no soap? How can you keep your distance from others when you have to queue for food and toilet several times a day?

The only solution: Immediate evacuation of the camps and guaranteed safety for all refugees by the European community.

What Germany is already doing. Due to the corona pandemic, the German Ministry of the Interior had ordered that foreigners are no longer allowed to enter Germany. In mid-March, however, Germany agreed with other European countries such as France, Ireland, Portugal and Finland that the admission of those particularly in need of protection is excluded. According to this agreement, 1.600 vulnerable people are to be taken from the Greek camps. Germany primarily wants to take in sick children and their families, with girls under the age of 14 being given special consideration. About 300 refugees would fall on the Federal Republic of Germany, whose future accommodation has already been clarified. Again, for comparison: More than 20,000 people are currently accommodated in Camp Moria on Lesbos.

The willingness is there. Axel Steier, spokesman for the Mission Lifeline organization, emphasizes that from the pick-up in Greece to accommodation and care in Germany there are already firm commitments from renowned institutions - for example from Diakonie Sachsen, Stadtmission Berlin or Kinderschutzbund Dresden. They firmly agreed that they have capacities for refugees - despite Corona.

Why does nothing happen anyway? But nothing has happened yet. Federal Interior Minister Seehofer refers to the EU Commission and the situation remains unchanged. The question remains why both the EU Commission and the German federal government do not act, even though capacities are available.

What has to happen for Germany / Europe to give refuge to refugees?


Our Objective Especially in times of the corona pandemic, people cannot even wash their hands sufficiently. A quick and actionable solution is therefore needed if we are serious about tackling the common task of slowing the spread of the Corona virus.

Our goal is to sensitize, inform and enable a broad public to defend themselves against this situation. We want to bring transparency to the current situation and make concrete solutions visible, which will enable the decision-makers to act faster.


CantWashMyHands-Website As part of the federal government's #WirVsVirus hackathon from 20-22 March 2020, we created the cantwashmyhands website. We want to offer a platform that enables exciting initiatives to gain more public attention, to network on a larger scale, and to come up with joint actions, so that the camps can be evacuated as quickly as possible.

Current situation at a glance The website summarizes all current information on the subject of corona and refugees and visualizes the current situation in Germany and at the European external border.

Establishment of a support network Since there are already many initiatives that are devoted to this or similar topics, our main goal is to push existing campaigns and petitions and to offer a networking platform for further cooperation. In addition, our website makes it easier for individuals to become active and offers a stage for major campaigns. In the coming weeks and months, this website could become a support and networking platform at European level, as the website will be available in different languages.


· Individuals who have not dealt with the topic at all or only little, and who want to find out more and also would like to receive incentives to act · Organizations and institutions (e.g. initiatives, associations, religious communities) that already have knowledge and have started their own campaigns and want to network further in order to achieve a greater reach · Politicians who support our demands and see the platform as a resource · Cities and municipalities that are ready to accept other vulnerable people · People in public life (e.g. influencers) who can and want to use their public sphere for a positive purpose


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