- Title: Greece's Lesbos island buckling under weight of migrant problem
- Date: 11th October 2016
- Summary: LESBOS, GREECE (RECENT - OCTOBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF A HILL ON LESBOS ISLAND COVERED IN DISCARDED LIFE JACKETS, LIFESAVERS, AND DINGHY BOATS THAT THE THOUSANDS OF MIGRANTS USED TO MAKE THE SEA CROSSING, SCORES AND SCORES OF THE ITEMS PILED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER SPRAWLING MORIA CAMP AS SEEN FROM ABOVE IN VALLEY VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS GATHERED AND WALKING IN CAMP AS SEEN FROM ABOVE CAMP ENTRANCE WITH COFFEE SHOP ACROSS THE STREET ENTRANCE OF CAMP WITH BARBED WIRE FENCE BARBED WIRE FENCE AROUND CAMP MIGRANTS WALKING OUTSIDE ENTRANCE, SITTING IN COFFEE SHOP ACROSS FROM CAMP MIGRANTS SITTING AT TABLE IN COFFEE SHOP MIGRANTS CHARGING THEIR PHONES ON AN EXTENSION CORD IN CAFE ACROSS FROM CAMP (SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMAL HASSAN HUSSEIN, MIGRANT FROM SOMALIA, SAYING: "Here, I am in jail. It's difficult to contact family, it's difficult to eat food, it's difficult to sleep, health, and everyone, we got all stress." HUSSEIN AND TWO OTHER MIGRANTS CHARGING THEIR PHONES AT TABLE IN COFFEE SHOP MIGRANT WITH EARPHONES AND PHONE IN HIS HAND EXTENSION CORD ON TABLE WITH PHONES PLUGGED IN (SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMAL HASSAN HUSSEIN, MIGRANT FROM SOMALIA, SAYING: "There is no any solution - no interview, no registration, no asylum, and everyone in the facility here is so slow, and the people is too much." LESBOS, GREECE (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) BOY WALKING AMIDST BURNED DOWN CAMP, ONLY METAL FRAMES STANDING IN ROWS OF BURNED DOWN TENTS FALLEN TARPS OF TENTS, METAL FRAMES OF TENTS STILL STANDING AFTER FIRE MIGRANT WALKING AMIDST BURNED CAMP LESBOS, GREECE (RECENT - OCTOBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNHCR SPOKESMAN ON LESBOS ROLAND SCHOENBAUER SAYING: "The living conditions, the overcrowding, and the anxiety about the future of these people. They are waiting and waiting for many months and they need answers, they need clarity, even if the answer is 'you don't get asylum' they should be given these answers." MORIA CAMP IN FOREGROUND AND VILLAGE OF MORIA IN BACKGROUND HOUSES OF MORIA VILLAGE VARIOUS OF STREETS IN MORIA VILLAGE VARIOUS OF VILLAGE RESIDENTS FOTIS PAPAEFSTRATIOU AND NIKOS BAHARAKIS SITTING AT A TABLE OUTSIDE A TAVERN (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) MORIA VILLAGE RESIDENT FOTIS PAPAEFSTRATIOU, SAYING: "What needs to be done is many of them need to be taken away from here. Because where they are staying, it's only for 500 - 600 people, and they are a few thousand. Soon they will not be able to endure the winter. They will light the trees on fire to stay warm, and the situation will spiral out of control." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) MORIA VILLAGE RESIDENT NIKOS BAHARAKIS, SITTING AT TABLE WITH PAPAESTRATIOU, SAYING: "They didn't come, everyone knows that, it's a given that there is no tourism." KARA TEPE CAMP AS SEEN FROM A DISTANCE VARIOUS OF FAMILY SITTING UNDER TARP SURROUNDED BY VARIOUS BELONGINGS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FATHEA KHALETA, SYRIAN WOMAN FROM DAMASCUS, AGED 38, A TEACHER, SHOWING HER TENT, SAYING: "We live in this room from seven months. This is our table, our sitting room, living room, and inside we cannot sleep, we cannot eat, it's very hot." (SOUNDBITE) (English) FATHEA KHALETA, SYRIAN WOMAN FROM DAMASCUS, SAYING: "I am very tired, and I (am) hopeless. Yesterday my grandchild dream with me I come to Germany, and she wake up happy: 'my grandmother come I see in my dream'. This is a dream, to go, to go."
- Embargoed: 26th October 2016 13:30
- Keywords: Europe migrants Greece refugees asylum Lesbos camp
- Location: LESBOS AND ATHENS, GREECE
- City: LESBOS AND ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00153K7YVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Months since the European Union and Turkey signed a deal to shut off the route taken by a million migrants last year, boats now rarely arrive on Lesbos, once at the centre of the human tide.
Orange lifejackets and deflated rubber boats have been taken away from the beaches and piled on a hill, offering a stark reminder of the crisis.
But thousands of migrants remain stranded in the island's two camps, nearly twice the intended capacity.
Most are in Moria camp, originally designed to swiftly identify genuine asylum seekers or those that would be sent back to Turkey, but the asylum process has been frustratingly slow, say migrants.
Amnesty International says food, including baby milk, is often scarce in Moria, and shower and toilet facilities are "extremely unhygienic".
Tents are without heating and rainfall turns dusty paths between tents into mud.
Kamal Hassan Hussein, a 30-year-old Somali, compared Moria to a jail, adding that everyone was tired of waiting for an answer to their asylum claims.
"It's difficult to contact family, it's difficult to eat food, it's difficult to sleep, health, and everyone, we got all stress," he said.
After a protest in September, fire swept through part of Moria camp, a disused hilltop military base, and forced thousands to flee.
Police are investigating the alleged rape of a Pakistani teenager by four other Pakistani youths. Women say they are constantly scared of sexual harassment.
"The living conditions, the overcrowding, and the anxiety about the future of these people. They are waiting and waiting for many months and they need answers, they need clarity," said Roland Schoenbauer, the UNHCR spokesman on Lesbos.
Despite being nominated for the Nobel peace prize for their assistance to the refugees, some residents are now staging protests, exhausted by the violence and overcrowding.
"Soon they will not be able to endure the winter. They will light the trees on fire to stay warm, and the situation will spiral out of control," said local Fotis Papaefstratiou.
The second camp, "Kara Tepe", is run by aid agencies and the local administration. It also faces shortages and difficult living conditions.
Syrian Fathea Khaleta waits for an answer to her asylum claim. Her husband and three grown children are already in Germany while she stayed behind in Syria to try and find out what happened to her son, arrested 3 years ago, but without result.
Greece has been criticised for dragging its feet on processing asylum applications, but says it is overwhelmed and lacks the manpower to process asylum applications faster.
"We are being criticized in Europe that we have delayed, that is not fair. We have delayed but we are at a phase where absolutely everyone is applying for asylum, all of them, absolutely everyone, and the evaluation for asylum has to take place under international standards," Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas recently told parliament.
Schoenbauer said the country must be relieved of the numbers or the tensions will continue and increase, eventually becoming a "lose-lose" situation for all.
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