No future on a prosperous Greek island

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018
No future on a prosperous Greek island

Author: Jannis Papadimitriou | | 11 December 2018

A refugee camp on the Greek island of Chios | Photo: Jannis Papadimitriou

Hundreds of migrants and refugees, mainly from Afghanistan and Africa, are stuck on Chios island in the Northern Aegean Sea. Local authorities want to close the refugee camp.

Chios is a fertile and rather prosperous island, which spawned shipping dynasties and didn't need to depend entirely on tourism like many other Greek islands. In recent years, though, that has changed. The island has been going through troubled times; as it finds itself on the frontline of the refugee crisis.

The Vial refugee camp is the main camp on the island, situated in the south of Chios. Conditions were reported to be deplorable, if not inhumane. In September 2017 InfoMigrants called it "a vision of hell."


In the last few weeks, asylum authorities transferred hundreds of refugees to continental Greece and began to remove the pop-up tents outside the camp. Easing the numbers in the camp on the island has improved conditions somewhat, but the situation is still far from ideal.

Marcelo Ambuti is one of about 1.000 migrants still in the Vial camp. He finds conditions difficult, particularly in winter, when the temperatures drop significantly to an average of 6-8 degrees. In July 2018 the young man from Congo crossed from Turkey to the island of Chios. His wife comes from Cameroon. Due to legal reasons that still remain incomprehensible to him, their marriage is not recognized and they had to apply separately for asylum. What is even more embarrassing: "We have been here for more than four months, and we are still waiting for our first interview with the asylum authorities," he complains. Read more>>>