Winter poses new challenge for migrant camps


A migrant stands among tents at a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesvos, Friday.

TAGS: Migration, Weather

While migrant arrivals on Greece’s Aegean islands have eased in recent weeks, 95 men, women and children braved the cold and windy weather on Friday to make the crossing from Turkey, landing on Samos.

According to official figures, arrivals on the islands in the period from November 19 to 25 came to 751, while 863 people were transferred from insular camps to facilities on the mainland in a bid to ease pressure on overcrowded reception and identification centers.

Despite these efforts, however, conditions at the camps remain cramped and grim, all the more so because of the onset of winter and a severe shortage of accommodation and clothing.

At the notorious Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, built for a maximum of 3,000 people, the population at end-November came to more than 5,800. A spillover camp in an adjacent olive grove, meanwhile, is home to 1,400 people staying in summer tents, as are hundreds inside the perimeter fences, as the container homes available are all occupied.

The official registration and processing center on Samos, built to house 650 people, is currently home to 3,895, with hundreds also being forced to live in summer tents inside and outside the facility.

NGO Doctors Without Borders, meanwhile, has already vaccinated 2,000 children on Lesvos and another 300 on Chios, and is planning to give booster shots to more than 1,000 minors on Samos in the next two days.