Migrants left without shelter on Greek island of Chios

Photo credit: euronews. Migrants living in makeshift shelter.

TMP – 13/12/2017

Migrants living in the main refugee camp on the Greek island of Chios are struggling as the camp has grown to over twice its capacity. Originally designed to provide shelter to around 800 people, there are now at least 2,300 migrants living in the camp.

Migrants in the camp do have access to food, water and health services but a major shortage in the number of containers and tents available means shelter is in short supply. Most of the migrants don’t have suitable protection against the harsh winter weather. One such migrant is 28-year-old Abdul Majed Hussain from Syria who doesn’t have shelter to keep his two sons and pregnant wife safe and warm.

“It is cold, it’s winter. We need a container for our kids. We don’t care about ourselves, but I have kids and my wife is pregnant. We cannot protect ourselves from rain,” he said.
Reports are emerging from the camp that migrants are being forced to pay to buy a tent at the camp. Kasim from Iraq said he paid €45 for a tent. He also hosts another family who can’t afford to buy a tent of their own.

Alongside shortages in shelter, migrants in the camp are growing increasingly frustrated by the slow asylum application procedure.
“We only wait waiting, waiting and waiting. Why is that? My baby boy is sick and we need to get to a big hospital,” said 29-year-old Mahmod Akla from Iraq.

According to Euronews correspondent Apostolos Staikos, “Every month, approximately 200 refugees and migrants are transported from Chios to Athens. However, many more arrive from Turkey (on a monthly basis). The camp is full and cannot take any more people, this is why refugees set up tents around it.”

Meanwhile, local authorities on Lesvos Island went on strike in a bid to pressure Athens to do more about the conditions of overcrowded reception centres on the island.
Lesvos mayor, Spyros Galinos believes the rising migrant population on the island “has fueled insecurity among citizens,” and wants the government to move migrants from the overcrowded island facilities to the Greek mainland.