Asymmetrical threat: NGOs warn of impending catastrophe in Greek refugee camps

Members of humanitarian organizations warn of catastrophe in Greek refugee camps, speaking of “children who have been bitten by scorpions, rats and snakes”, “hundreds of people forced to use a single shower”, “food shortages that tend to become regular” in the hotspots of the eastern Aegean islands, as reported by the Guardian.

The British newspaper quotes a Doctors Without Borders spokesman saying “is now raising the alarm: at least 24,000 men, women and children trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps are being subjected to conditions so harrowing they bear all the hallmarks of humanitarian catastrophe.

“Four years after the greatest migration crisis in modern times, there are fears history is repeating itself” writes the Guardian correspondent in Athens.

““The level of human suffering is just indescribable,” an MSF spokesman said.

The Guardian correspondent notes the jump in the number of those attempting to cross the border from Turkey, referring to the more than 13,000 arriving in the islands in July-August, half of all migrants and refugees who have arrived in 2019 so far.

According to the UNHCR, 1/3 of the new arrivals on the islands are unaccompanied minors. “It has happened so quickly, aid organizations feel overwhelmed,” says a spokesman for the Greek section of the International Red Cross.

The next question posed by representatives of organizations is “what will happen in the winter?” With NGOs in Athens, as the Guardian writes, attributing the increase to the deliberate relaxation shown by the Turkish coastguard.
Finally, the report states that there are currently 10,400 people in Moria – when the site was designed for 3,000 – and the situation is even worse is Samos with the UN High Commissioner in Athens stressing that it has seven times more people than its capacity.