Migrants forced to endure on Greek holiday islands in desperate conditions - CVIEW NEWS

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Migrants forced to endure on Greek holiday islands in desperate conditions


Thousands of desperate migrants are camping out on roundabouts amid squalid camps overflowing with rubbish on the Greek holiday islands of Lesbos and Kos. 
Around 5,000 people have arrived in Lesbos in the past few days and many are forced to sleep outside amid broken glass and piles of rubble without access to water, shelter, toilets or medical care.
Shocking images taken at the official Moria camp near the main town of Mitlini show filthy and overflowing latrines strewn with discarded plastic bottles and tents perched next to piles of rubbish.
Squalid: Overflowing men's toilets at the Moria camp near Lesbos' main town of Mitilini. Around 5000 people have arrived on the island in the past few days, many without access to proper sanitation
Squalid: Overflowing men's toilets at the Moria camp near Lesbos' main town of Mitilini. Around 5000 people have arrived on the island in the past few days, many without access to proper sanitation
Battle to survive: A Syrian newborn lies on the floor of Kara Tepe camp. The family has no milk for the baby and no money to buy any
Battle to survive: A Syrian newborn lies on the floor of Kara Tepe camp. The family has no milk for the baby and no money to buy any
Makeshift: Tents strewn across a roundabout in the Kara Temp camp. Many migrants don't even have proper shelter and are forced to sleep out in the open
Makeshift: Tents strewn across a roundabout in the Kara Temp camp. Many migrants don't even have proper shelter and are forced to sleep out in the open
Not enough: Mekdad Mehamad, 44, from Aleppo, Syria, is staying with his wife and three children in the Kara Tepe refugee camp. Every morning, authorities distribute one piece of bread for each family and Merkad has to share the tiny piece with his three children and his wife
Not enough: Mekdad Mehamad, 44, from Aleppo, Syria, is staying with his wife and three children in the Kara Tepe refugee camp. Every morning, authorities distribute one piece of bread for each family and Merkad has to share the tiny piece with his three children and his wife
Unclean: Piles of rubbish next to tents in the Moria camp. MSF say the Greek authorities have been making some effort to clean the camps but not enough
Unclean: Piles of rubbish next to tents in the Moria camp. MSF say the Greek authorities have been making some effort to clean the camps but not enough
Last resort: Migrants use empty cans of Coke to boil water for their tea in Kara Tep camp, which has had to hold up to 2,000 people in recent days
Last resort: Migrants use empty cans of Coke to boil water for their tea in Kara Tep camp, which has had to hold up to 2,000 people in recent days
Making do: Mark from Iraq and his little daughter in a makeshift tent in Moria camp
Making do: Mark from Iraq and his little daughter in a makeshift tent in Moria camp
Snatching some rest: Mohammed, Tarik, Ahmed and Abbas from Latakiyah, Syria on their first day in Moria camp
Snatching some rest: Mohammed, Tarik, Ahmed and Abbas from Latakiyah, Syria on their first day in Moria camp
On the edge: A makeshift camp in an abandoned warehouse outside Kara Tepe camp. Since the main camp is overcrowded with appalling conditions many refugees choose to camp outside of it
On the edge: A makeshift camp in an abandoned warehouse outside Kara Tepe camp. Since the main camp is overcrowded with appalling conditions many refugees choose to camp outside of it
Lightening the mood: Syrian refugees staying in the abandoned warehouse outside the main Kara Tepe camp share a joke together
Lightening the mood: Syrian refugees staying in the abandoned warehouse outside the main Kara Tepe camp share a joke together
Conditions at the unofficial Kara Tep camp, which has been heaving with up to 2,000 new arrivals in recent days, are similarly dire, with people camping out on roundabouts, puddles of unclean stagnant water and migrants forced to boil water on fires using discarded Coke cans.
The pictures have been released by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has emergency teams in Lesbos and Kos - the only two Greek islands with capacity to receive migrants, the majority fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
MSF emergency coordinator in Lesbos, Elisabetta Faga, told MailOnline from the island: 'There are people sleeping on bits of paper and using nets meant to collect olives to try and make a sort of shelter.
'The camps are not clean. When they are busy, just like in a discotheque when you have 2,000 people who haven't showered, the smell is not very good.
'The municipality makes some effort to clean but it is very difficult to do the maintenance, cleaning the rubbish the latrines and the showers. 
'During June something like 15,000 people arrived on the island. It's very difficult for Lesbos to receive these sorts of numbers. They come from many different countries and cultures.
'Everybody is struggling and the authorities are trying to do something but we need to remember this is Greece so they are overworked already.'
Ms Faga has been on the island two weeks and the first day of her arrival she joined a small team checking up on migrants making the 70km (43 mile) walk in baking heat from arrival points on the north coast to the registration centre in Mitilini.  
Danger to health: Stagnant, brackish water at Kara Tep. During June around 15,000 people arrived on Lesbos
Danger to health: Stagnant, brackish water at Kara Tep. During June around 15,000 people arrived on Lesbos
Snatching some rest: A Syrian refugee sleeps under an olive tree in Kara Tep. Some migrants have been sleeping on bits of paper and using nets meant to collect olives for shelter
Snatching some rest: A Syrian refugee sleeps under an olive tree in Kara Tep. Some migrants have been sleeping on bits of paper and using nets meant to collect olives for shelter
Struggle: A family of Afghan refugees prepare to wash themselves in Kara Tepe. Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers are currently stranded in precarious conditions across several Greek islands
Struggle: A family of Afghan refugees prepare to wash themselves in Kara Tepe. Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers are currently stranded in precarious conditions across several Greek islands
Sticking together: Leila 31, Jorahan, 35, and one their children from Kunduz, Afghanistan, boiling water to make tea in Kara Tepe camp
Sticking together: Leila 31, Jorahan, 35, and one their children from Kunduz, Afghanistan, boiling water to make tea in Kara Tepe camp
A Syrian refugee taking a midday nap amidst drying clothes in Moria camp
A Syrian migrant washes his clothes in two cut water containers
Carrying on: A Syrian refugee taking a midday nap amidst drying clothes in Moria camp (left) while another washes his in two cut water containers (right)
Doing what they can: Tents at Kara Tepe camp. A reception centre on Lesbos with capacity for 700 people is overwhelmed
Doing what they can: Tents at Kara Tepe camp. A reception centre on Lesbos with capacity for 700 people is overwhelmed
Keeping clean: A refugee washes by the main road outside the Kara Tepe camp. There are few water taps  in the camp
Keeping clean: A refugee washes by the main road outside the Kara Tepe camp. There are few water taps in the camp
She said: 'There was a father who was just trying to travel there with his two young children. He was pulling them along in a plastic beer crate with no wheels attached to a piece of string.
'He couldn't carry them anymore, he was just exhausted and very emotional.' 
Most of the migrants make the perilous six mile journey across the Aegean Sea from Turkey in flimsy boats, paying smugglers around $1,000 (£640) each.
From Kos and Lesbos they then hope to make a further crossing to Athens and on to Western Europe.  

On Kos, around 700 people are living in an abandoned hotel that has capacity for just 200. Refugees are forced to sleep on the floor amidst broken glass and MSF medics are treating skin infections developed as a result of the poor living conditions.
Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers are currently stranded in precarious conditions across several Greek islands, despite repeated calls by MSF over the past six months for improvements to be made to the country's reception capacity. 
A reception centre on Lesbos with capacity for 700 people is overwhelmed, suffering from overcrowding, poor hygiene conditions and lack of food.   
Jeilan, 28, from Aleppo, with her four-year-old daughter at Kara Tep
As there are no plugs in the camp, migrants have hacked the street lights poles to charge their mobile phones
Improvising: Jeilan, 28, from Aleppo, with her four-year-old daughter at Kara Tep (left). As there are no plugs in the camp, migrants have hacked the street lights poles to charge their mobile phones (right)
Eyesore: Rubbish at Kara Tep. Most of the migrants make the perilous six mile journey across the Aegean Sea from Turkey in flimsy boats, paying smugglers around $1,000 (£640) each
Eyesore: Rubbish at Kara Tep. Most of the migrants make the perilous six mile journey across the Aegean Sea from Turkey in flimsy boats, paying smugglers around $1,000 (£640) each
On the move: A migrant walks between the tents at Kara Temp camp. Some arrivals don't even have tents to sleep under 
On the move: A migrant walks between the tents at Kara Temp camp. Some arrivals don't even have tents to sleep under 
In transit: Moshed from Afghanistan having a shower in Kara Tepe camp. He had been there three days at the time the image was taken
In transit: Moshed from Afghanistan having a shower in Kara Tepe camp. He had been there three days at the time the image was taken
On the line: Refugees' tents and cloth lines in an abandoned warehouse outside the official Kara Tepe camp
On the line: Refugees' tents and cloth lines in an abandoned warehouse outside the official Kara Tepe camp
Shelter: A refugees' tent at the entrance of Kara Tepe camp. Because of the dusty conditions the tree has turned white
Shelter: A refugees' tent at the entrance of Kara Tepe camp. Because of the dusty conditions the tree has turned white
Despite efforts by authorities to distribute food, rations are not enough to feed everyone. In Kos where MSF provides medical and humanitarian assistance, 700 people are sleeping on the floor among rubble and shattered glass in an old dilapidated building with a maximum capacity of 200 people. 
Despite MSF's efforts to supply clean water and improve sanitation, conditions can only be significantly improved by action and willingness by the local authorities to address the situation.
Ms Faga said: 'Leaving people to fend for themselves in an abandoned building or a field full of garbage where there is hardly any water or latrines is simply unacceptable and is putting people's health at risk.'
'Greek authorities should provide additional places where humanitarian assistance, such as food, shelter, sanitation and medical care can also be provided by other organisations. Authorities also need to ensure that efficient registration procedures are put in place and that new arrivals are provided with information about what to do and where to go.'
'While MSF and other organisations can assist in the humanitarian response, the efficiency and impact of any relief efforts will be seriously hampered by the failure to provide and maintain an adequate reception system' said Stathis Kyroussis, MSF's head of mission in Greece.  
Saved: Actor and director David Morrissey lifts a child into the coast guard's boat and out of harms way
Saved: Actor and director David Morrissey lifts a child into the coast guard's boat and out of harms way
Traumatised: Many of these children have fled their home countries in a desperate bid to escape war
Traumatised: Many of these children have fled their home countries in a desperate bid to escape war
'The current situation is a violation of Greece's and European countries' obligations towards asylum seekers and migrants in Greece. Given the deep economic crisis that Greece is facing, it cannot be assumed that Greece can cope with this alone. 
'The EU and its member states should urgently deploy humanitarian resources such as emergency funding and material assistance to support Greece in responding to the basic needs of newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers. 
'UNHCR (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) also needs to take direct responsibility, translating words into real action, and stepping up its response in delivering humanitarian assistance.n centre in Mitilini'.
British Walking Dead star David Morrissey last week visited Lesbos for himself as a representative of the UNCHR to raise awareness of the human suffering at the heart of 'the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War'.
'As I drove along the beach front, all you can see is discarded life jackets, and the remains of rubber dinghies/  'And there are rubber rings, which I think were makeshift life jackets.' 
'Every night there are hundreds and hundreds of people walking and walking and walking. 'Some of the children are numb and still and frozen with fear; they don't know where they are going, but they know where they have been.'  





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