Nowhere to go: Refugees fear closure of greek camp that has river of sewage and 12-hour waits for meals


Nowhere to go: Refugees fear closure of greek camp that has river of sewage and 12-hour waits for meals

Author: Anna Lekas Miller | The Intercept | 9 October 2018

Last month, health and safety personnel on the Greek island of Lesbos inspected the Moria refugee camp to find a river of human sewage coursing through the tents.

After the inspection, the local authorities of the North Aegean regional government issued a statement calling upon the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy to either address the numerous health and safety issues they found, or close down the camp.

They gave a 30-day ultimatum, saying: “Once it expires, we will ban its operation over even just one of the aforementioned problems.”

The deadline is this week, and it is clear that the regional government is unable to keep their threat to either clean or close the camp. Thousands of refugees remain trapped there in fetid conditions, without permission to travel onwards to mainland Greece. To address the overcrowding, Greek migration authorities have transferred 1,500 people to the mainland since the inspection. But another 1,961 refugees arrived in Lesbos during the month of September alone. Many were told that the camp no longer had tents, and spent several nights sleeping in an adjacent olive grove, which is starting to become a de facto refugee camp of its own.

“The biggest problem in Moria is the huge number of people. We have to wait hours for food and days, or months, for appointments,” says Nasser, a 27-year-old from Damascus who has been stuck in the camp for more than a year. Even though Nasser, who declined to give his last name for safety reasons, was recently approved to travel to Athens, he cannot leave the island until he receives his monthly allowance from the United Nations Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, which is delayed due to the sheer mass of people waiting for everything from asylum interviews and doctor appointments to food and shelter in Moria. Read more>>>