Alarm raised over third migrant death in six days


The death Monday of a third migrant within a week at the Moria camp on Lesvos has increased concerns about the living conditions of thousands of people who continue to live in tents, and cast fresh doubts over a pledge by the Migration Ministry in early January to take the necessary precautions as heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures engulfed the country.

However, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said Monday that the number of United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) employees at the camps has dropped, making a difficult situation even tougher.

He also said a plan to move people to hotels while the so-called hot spots received a makeover fell through after local authorities and hoteliers disagreed.

He vowed to reporters that steps will be taken “to make the situation more manageable,” while migrants, meanwhile, say they are at breaking point.

The latest incidents occurred as the UNHCR and other organizations have called on Greece to improve living conditions.

The man who died Monday in his tent was a Pakistani national, aged between 18 and 20. Authorities have ruled out foul play while doctors blamed carbon monoxide poisoning.

A 30-year-old Afghan man who shared the same tent was hospitalized but his condition was reportedly not life-threatening.

The Pakistani man’s death follows that of an Egyptian man, 22, last Tuesday and a 46-year-old Syrian man on Saturday.

A coroner has asked for more tests to ascertain the cause of death for the latter two. Initial assessments attributed their deaths to fume inhalations from stoves they had lit to keep warm.

Two camps on Lesvos serve as temporary shelter for some 4,800 refugees and migrants.