Refugees and citizens in Van under threat as no measure taken

Although the border gates with Iran are closed, refugees and migrants continue to pour into Van. Hundreds of refugees come to Van every day from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Central Asian countries, all hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

It is claimed that refugees coming to Van are not screened. Van Intercity Bus Station, which is visited by hundreds of people every day, is the entrance door for refugees to go to other cities.

Refugees and migrants who arrived in Van after a difficult and for some often a fatal journey have nowhere to stay. They have to stay at Van Bus Station day and night.

Refugees are deprived of hygienic conditions and are at serious risk due to the imprudence of the authorities. Adding epidemic diseases to the already hard situation they found themselves in is only a matter of time. This risk also threatens all city residents.

Van Bus Station is busy also because from there minibus lines are operating between Erciş, Özalp, Gevaş, Çaldıran, Muradiye and Doğubayazıt.

Hundreds and even thousands of people go to Van from these districts every day. This traffic poses a serious risk for the spread of possible virus cases to a wider area.

A minibus driver operating between Van and Muradiye, who did not want to give his name for security reasons, said: "We are carrying hundreds of passengers every day from Muradiye to Van, from Van to Muradiye. The lives of the passengers we bring to Turkey are at risk here."

Refugees who do not have the means to protect themselves are exposed to coronavirus, and all residents are facing the same danger. Turkish government officials have not taken any precautionary measures.

A citizen who lives near Van Bus Station pointed out to the terrible situation of hundreds of refugees in and around the bus station, and emphasized the right of refugees to live healthy.

Citizens said: "The refugees deserve a healthy life. But this task falls to the state. The state, however, is taking no preacaution and none of these refugees undergo a health screening. The state is putting the refugees and the citizens at risk."