On a windswept hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, hundreds of asylum seekers huddling in tents on the island of Lesbos are glad to see the top of winter.
“The nights are very, very chilly, and it’s extremely troublesome with a five-month child,” Abdelkhader Ali, a 25-year-old Syrian, tells AFP contained in the camp of Mavrovouni.
Designed to be non permanent after a hearth destroyed the island’s earlier everlasting facility of Moria, Mavrovouni has been house to over 6,000 individuals since September.
On a uncommon media tour organised throughout a go to to the island on Monday by EU house affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, asylum seekers shout out to reporters that they’re bored with incarceration.
“It is a jail, we can not do something,” says Jawad, a 34-year-old Afghan who had hoped to talk to Johansson.
“Free us. You could free us,” chant a dozen ladies from Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo close to a camp gate, below the watchful eye of Greek police.
“We need to go to high school, we need to construct a household,” says one of many ladies who has been on the island since 2019 and has seen no progress in her asylum declare.
“We’re suffocating right here,” she yells as police escort the journalists out of the camp and shut the gate.
The European Union has allotted 276 million euros ($325 million) for the development of recent camps on Lesbos and 4 different Aegean islands — Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros — the place practically 14,000 migrants are hosted.
“It is of the utmost significance that we do not depart individuals in tents for an additional winter,” Johansson stated Monday at a information convention with Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi.
Work on a brand new everlasting Lesbos camp is predicted to begin in the summertime, Mitarachi stated, with out giving a completion date.
“We is not going to enable for a troublesome winter forward,” the minister vowed.
He stated Greek authorities had overcome a “large problem” in housing asylum seekers left homeless in a single day by the burning of Moria, who on the time numbered over 10,000.
“Many of the work for flood prevention has been virtually accomplished. Now electrical energy is coming in, scorching water is there,” Mitarachi stated.
He insisted that the non permanent camp, a former military goal vary, is “rather more first rate, clear and protected than Moria ever was”.
“There’s a test when individuals are available, you can’t carry knives into the camp, you can’t carry alcohol,” Mitarachi stated.
Camp residents acknowledge that safety has improved with some 300 Greek police now current, however a bunch of different issues stay.
“The one factor that’s good right here on this new camp is the safety,” says Raed Alobeed, 45, additionally from Syria.
“Within the previous Moria camp… the violence (got here in) excessive ranges. We bought victims, we bought stabbing individuals, thieves, mafia, promoting medication.”
Bakari, a younger migrant from Mali, says he hasn’t washed in three days for lack of scorching water, contradicting the minister.
“We dwell like pigs,” provides Jojo, a Congolese asylum seeker who stresses that the police solely intervene to interrupt up fights.
Compounding the sense of imprisonment, the migrants are solely allowed to journey to the closest city for groceries a few instances per week, due to coronavirus issues.
“We make do with what they provide us, two meals a day,” says Jacques, one other Congolese migrant.