Migrant deaths prompt work at Greek camp

Migrant deaths prompt work at Greek camp
By Catherine Hardy with AP
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Greek media say three men were poisoned by fumes from stoves lit inside the tents to combat the bitter winter temperatures. However, the authorities would neither confirm nor deny this.


Improvement work has begun at an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

It comes after three migrants died in the Moria camp over the last week.

The deaths have raised the alarm about the harsh winter conditions in the over-crowded camps.

Teams of workmen could be seen in the camp on Thursday.

Three deaths in Moria #refugee camp increase concerns about bleak winter conditions and overcrowding JRSEurope</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; JRS International (JesuitRefugee) February 1, 2017

What happened?

Two migrants were found dead in their tents last week.

The 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian, who shared a tent, died days apart.

A third died on Monday.

He is believed to be a 20-year-old from Pakistan.

Another migrant who shared his tent is critically ill and has been taken to hospital.

How did they die?

The Greek media have suggested they were poisoned by fumes from stoves lit inside the tents to combat the bitter winter temperatures.

However, the authorities would neither confirm nor deny this.

How many refugees are on Lesbos?

Around 5,000.

They are housed in the Moria and Kara Tepe camps.

23 insulated shelters that will host up to 120 people previously in tents are set up in #Moria refugee camp on #Lesbos. IRCEurope</a> <a href="">

— Daphne Tolis (@daphnetoli) February 1, 2017

What they are saying

Migrants have described the conditions as “inhumane,” saying they are living “like animals”.

“We live like animals,” said Hermand Iyemenvili from Congo. “No one should spend any time in conditions like this. Unfortunately, Greek procedure is achaic.”

“The conditions are inhumane,” said Segaurin Najib, who is Algerian. “It is very cold inside the tents. We are like animals.”

Locals are also complaining that not enough is being done to help.

“Greece can’t even support its own people financially at the moment,” said Lesbos resident Dakis Makrakis. “Businesses are closing, the Greeks themselves are migrating abroad. Basically, Greece cannot take these people in.”


“We wonder how many deaths it will take for the government to wake up,” said Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of the small centrist party, To Potami.

The UN refugee agency and other international organisations have urged Greece to improve conditions at its overcrowded facilities.

“Something has got to give. We cannot tolerate this wanton loss of life”, said the Director of the International Rescue Committee Greece, Panos Navrozidis.

What about the Greek government?

The authorities in Athens say more than 60,000 refugees and migrants remain blocked in Greece.

It comes after border closures last year and the EU’s deal with Turkey to control immigration.


With 3 dead in #Moria, Greek and EU leaders need to stop blindly protecting the dirty #EUTurkey deal and start protecting people's lives!

— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) January 30, 2017

Greek migration minister Yannis Mouzalas has ordered an investigation into the deaths.

He is quoted by the Athens News Agency as saying steps will be taken “to make the situation more manageable.”

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