Moria migrant camp: Thousands of people remain living in dire conditions in Greece

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By Katy Dartford
Moria migrant camp: Thousands of people remain living in dire conditions in Greece

For hundreds of migrants and refugees, Moria camp in Greece remains their unhappy home as 2018 draws to a close.

The detention centre on Lesbos, which is Greece’s largest refugee camp, has been declared “dangerous for public health.”

Some, the lucky ones, have found a place in the refugee camp that can accommodate up to three thousand and five hundred migrants.

But those living in the fields, next to the centre, remain exposed to intense cold and rain, struggling to protect their families.

"Do you see what we are trying to do? We are trying to build a small wooden house," says Muhammad Jaffary, a migrant from Afghanistan.

"They have given us a small tent, but we do not fit. We are a seven-member family. Tell me, please, who can live in a field full of puddles and rocks? It’s winter and I do not have proper clothes. I only have this blouse."

Last September, the number of refugees reached nine thousand. The situation was unbearable. People had to wait in line for food, for 3 hours, for every meal.

Now, many families try to cook and make bread outside the refugee camp.

"I am 36 years old and I have 8 children. This jacket is the only one I have to get through winter. Lately, it has been raining a lot. Water enters our tent and it gets really cold. Moria is not a place for families. We do not want to stay here, we have to leave; we want to reach Athens." said Shahla Nori, a migrant from Afghanistan.

By the end of the year, less than 5000 were living in Moria. However, many feel trapped on the island.

According to the Ministry for Migration Policy, at the end of 2018, around 70,000 migrants live in Greece.

11,900 of those live in the Aegean islands, while 3500 are unaccompanied minors.

Amnesty International argues that the Greek government and the European Union have major responsibilities for the current deadlock.

"Through the agreement, through the joint statement signed between the EU and Turkey, the European Union is actually trying to redeem its responsibilities with money. I mean that it funds third countries, such as Turkey or Libya in the south, in order to keep refugees and migrants far away from its front yard," said Gabriel Sakellaridis, Head of the Greek Section at Amnesty International.

Volunteers try to entertain children, but the situation in Moria won’t really improve unless a significant number of refugees are transferred to the mainland.

Apostolos Staikos spoke to those who are enduring a harsh winter in difficult conditions. You can watch the piece in the player above.