Unbearable Refugee Conditions in Greece Highlighted in German Press

“Nearly 15,000 refugees and migrants are stuck on the Greek islands, in overcrowded tents and without adequate access to food and water,” German newspaper Handelsblatt reports.

The VIAL migrant reception center on Chios island was caught unprepared to deal with the heavy rainfall and cold weather. A large number of migrants and refugees who stay in tents provided by the UNHCR in the fields around the overcrowded hospitality facility were literally at the mercy of the elements. Some were even forced to climb on trees to avoid the mud and flooding waters.

The number of tents provided was not sufficient, as hundreds more asylum seekers arrived on the island in the past two weeks, according to the German newspaper.

Since Monday morning, efforts have been made to move the asylum seekers away from the fields and find shelter for them.

For those who are forced to live in tents, the situation is equally bad because there is no power, sanitation facilities or running water.

Handelsblatt says that police are ready to face protests or even violent riots in the overcrowded camp and surrounding areas where refugees and migrants stay in the open.

The German press publishes new reports on the desperate living conditions of refugees and immigrants in the refugee camps of the Greek Aegean islands.

The Handelsblatt report comments on the open letter that 19 human rights organizations sent to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, complaining about the tragic situation of refugees at the beginning of the week.

Handelsblatt points out that “Athens is experiencing ever-increasing international pressure due to the wretched conditions in refugee camps. Relief organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, local politicians of the affected islands and UNHCR,  have repeatedly warned about the situation. So far, little has been done, the German correspondent says, noting that the Greek prime minister has not replied to the open letter yet.

A reference to the desperate situation of the refugees on the Aegean islands also appears in the web version of the Austrian Der Standard. The correspondent of the newspaper in Athens notes that “the refugee flows on the Greek islands continue uninterruptedly. Non-governmental organizations are now asking to stop the enclave of refugees.”

The article reports that the Greek prime minister had declared a year ago that the refugee crisis would be solved with “solidarity and a sense of hospitality.”

Der Standard further comments: “Alexis Tsipras’ words must sound ridiculous in the ears of the refugees on Lesvos, Chios and Samos. Nothing has been solved there. Just the opposite.”


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