Camp not ready on Lesbos
Refugees are forced to spend the winter in tents

After the fire in Moria, the new refugee camp on Lesbos was supposed to be more beautiful and modern. But housing construction has not yet begun. Asylum seekers have to stay in makeshift tents and containers this winter as well.

Asylum seekers on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios will not be able to move to new refugee camps as planned by winter. About 2,550 people will continue to live there in tents and containers. The construction of the accommodation has not even begun, as evidenced by the EU Commission’s response to questions from the German news agency dpa. After all, the new reception camps in Kos and Leros are scheduled to open on Saturday. The center, located on the island of Samos, began operating in September.

The situation is particularly difficult as winter approaches on Lesbos, where about 2,200 migrants still live in the Kara Tepe (also: Mavrovoni) transitional camp. The camp was set up in no time at all a year ago after a major fire destroyed the infamous Moria Reception Camp almost completely.

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis announced in the spring that a new camp would be completed by winter, but that camp – just like on Chios – still exists only on paper. “The bidding process for the Lesbos and Chios facilities is still ongoing,” the EU Commission says.

Lawsuits are being filed against Lesbos

Currently, there is still a legal dispute initiated by the municipality of Chios on the island of the same name. Lawsuits are pending on Lesbos, too. Before starting construction work, the highest Greek administrative court must decide.

The European Union Commission has confirmed that it will work with the authorities to ensure that all the needs of people in the transition camp are met. Mitarakis had assured that no one would have to spend the winter in tents. “All tents are being replaced with containers and housing units, and it is expected to be completed soon,” he added.

Aid organizations repeatedly complain that the makeshift camp on Lesbos is worse than Moria. Athena denies this and points out that last year in Moria, 20,000 people died under poor conditions, while the current 8,000-seat camp only accommodates 2,200 people. The reason for this is that the government has brought many children, pregnant women and sick people to the mainland.

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