[Battlemesh] Call for Refugee Camps

Philipp Borgers borgers at mi.fu-berlin.de
Sun Apr 24 17:39:07 CEST 2016


we did around 20+ projects in refugee "camps" here in Berlin.

Most important part here is to get in contact with the authorities early on in
the process. Make sure everybody understands the importance of communication and
information in these situations. A combination of real life examples with
"scientific" studies/papers helps most of the time.

After you made the first contact stay present in the minds of the authorities.
Call them atleast twice a week. Don't be afraid to make (cold) calls! For
important tasks try to arange meetings as soon as possible.

In your case, I guess, the most important point is to get access to the camp site
and permission to do minimal construction work, e.g. put a pole on a existing
building to attach a few antennas.

The general technical idea would be to create a point to point link with two
dish antennas. On one end (Gevgelija) you have a roof/balkonie with the antenna
attached and broadband internet rented. On the other end you have another dish
antenna and a few antennas (sector) to distribute the signal to the users. For
both sides you need permission. If money is not the problem you may want to rent
roof space. One time cost for the installation is in the range of 1000 to 3000€.
Monthly cost maybe around 100-200€.

What I would do in the next step:

* contact authorities, e.g. camp operator
* check if broadband internet is e.g. available in (Gevgelija) or other cities
  that do have a line of sight to the camp
* check the situation in or around the camp, search for a high place with power 
  (230V) and the possibility to erect a pole
* check possible locations on the other site, is broadband availabe (on the
  roof), do we see the camp
* document everything with photos and take good notes, e.g. address, contacts,
  how much wire need, etc.
* make sure you have enough resources
* just do it

I can try to answer more specific questions. Please just ask! I'm open to voice
chat too.

Best Philipp

On Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 02:13:23PM +0000, berat at autistici.org wrote:
> Hi everybody,
> I want to make a call for the extraordinary situation of refugees who are
> waiting on the borders of Europe. As you know, thousands and thousands of
> people ran away from a war, they have lost their homes, their families,
> loved ones, they have lost their past and the only thing remains is the hope
> for having a future. Finding a safe place to raise their children and live a
> dignified life.
> But unfortunately the borders of Europe are closed and hundreds of thousands
> of refugees are blocked in makeshift refugee camps in Greece and Turkey for
> months(if not for more than one year) without knowing what will happen.
> Conditions in refugee camps are worst in every aspect; social, health,
> hygiene, food, and minimum living conditions that would be guaranteed by the
> basic human rights.
> Especially now in Idomeni(which is a small village on the border of
> Macedonia) there is a huge refugee camp with more than 10 thousand
> inhabitants who are seeking for an opportunity to reach other European
> countries. There are different humanitarian groups(also associations like
> Doctors Without Borders, UNCHR) from all over the Europe who brings
> materials/goods, help and solidarity.
> An Italian group called "Over The Fortress"[0][1] also organizes continuous
> voluntary groups for Idomeni. They basically monitor, do reports and support
> information/basic necessities to the camp. They ultimately reported the high
> necessity of Internet connection and electricity in the camp. One of the
> main reasons, the only way to do an asylum application is a Skype call with
> Athens, which is difficult in a place with very limited resources. Even
> though it is considered as a "cruel and senseless procedure."[2] by the
> activists (and ofcourse they're right) and it should be changed as petition
> demands[2], at the moment this is the only way to stay in Greece. Because
> the agreement between Turkey and UE aims to return them back to Turkey,
> which is definitely not the desire of refugees. On the other hand, ofcourse
> these people need to comunicate with the world outside the camp because many
> of them have parents/familiers in some other parts of the world.
> So, Over The Fortress brought a generator for eletricity, for light and
> materials for wifi. They made a contract with a Greece ISP which provides
> montlhy 500 Gigabit for 200€[3]. It will be active for 4 months and they
> launched a campaign to sustain the project[4]. But in an ultimate mail that
> arrived, they informed us that the volume of data acquired in the first
> instance is running out of and need to be increased. Sharing this campaign
> with your social networks could be helpful. It can be a temporary solution
> and at this point, contribute of wireless communities can be very important.
> The aim of this mail is informing and asking a contribute from wireless mesh
> network communuties about this situation. While we were discussing with the
> Ninux community, they suggested to write to ML Battlemesh, as this problem
> is not temporary and need to be considered in a larger scale. Idomeni is
> just an example and eventhough tomorrow borders had been open, this fluss of
> people would still need many kinds of support and the Internet is an
> important one. They also informed me that some communities like Freifunk,
> already had supported refugees in similar situations, so they have
> experience, which would be very precious to share with us. In the specific
> of Idomeni, contribute/support of Greece community would be very essential.
> I've never been in Idomeni(I myself am extra-comunitario in Italy, for some
> reasons i can't go) but to have more technical information from the camp,
> you can contact with Over The Fortress, as i know Disaster Tech Lab[5] has
> been there and tomorrow one of my friends from CMN Pisa will go to Idomeni
> with a group, for a week. In return, he can make a report about the ultimate
> situation. Unfortunately i can't neither participate to Battlemesh to
> discuss it face to face. I hope this mail can be a starting point to discuss
> what can communities do about this situation.
> Thanks for reading.
> Berat
> [0] http://www.meltingpot.org/spip.php?page=lang&lang=en#pagination_elenco_articoli
> [1] http://www.meltingpot.org/overthefortress-a-handover-to-the-border-of-fortress-Europe.html
> [2] https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/stop_skype_asylum_procedure
> [3] http://www.meltingpot.org/Sostieni-il-progetto-No-Border-Wi-Fi-della-campagna.html
> [only in italian]
> [4] https://www.produzionidalbasso.com/project/solidarity-campaign-overthefortress-support-migrants-journey-with-us/
> [5] http://disastertechlab.org/
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