The Greek chapter of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has published a letter in which a 16-year-old Syrian boy expresses his desperation over the deplorable conditions of a migrant camp in the northern border region of Evros.
“I have tried to commit suicide three times and I am still having the same thoughts. This place is the reason I want to end my life,” the unnamed teenager wrote in a letter published by MSF, in an appeal to authorities to improve conditions at the camp on the Fylakio crossing, describing how around half of its 240 steady residents are minors.
“The are living in unsuitable conditions, some for several months, with limited access to basic healthcare services,” MSF Greece said in an appeal published on its website on Thursday.
“The food, for example, is terrible; dogs wouldn't eat it if we gave it to them,” wrote the 16-year-old, echoing these concerns.
“Everyone promises to help me but I am still here,” said the teenager, who fled war-torn Syria three years ago. He spent eight months in Turkey gathering money to pay traffickers for the crossing into Greece and has been at the Evros camp for the past two months, he says in his letter.
MSF this week wrapped up a six-month mission at the Evros camp, where its doctors provided emergency relief and psychological support. The land border with Turkey has seen a spike in migrant crossings since the start of the year, prompting the opening of new camps in the broader area, which are also accommodating asylum seekers who have been relocated from overcrowded facilities on the islands.
“The authorities had ample time to organize medical services, yet these needs are still not being covered. We see children and adults here every day who have problems with their physical and mental health that are directly related to their indefinite stay at the reception and identification center. The most worrying thing is that we have also treated children who have inflicated self-harm and attempted suicide,” said MSF's Evros team coordinator, Iphigenia Anastasiadi.
“This situation is not acceptable. The Health Ministry needs to put together a full medical team for the center so as to reduce these people's pain,” she added.
“I have lost all hope. I just want to get out,” the teenager writes in his letter.