The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) – again – said it is anxious that conditions in detention centers and camps housing some 64,000 refugees and migrants in Greece will just get worse with the onset of winter, joining a chorus of complainers ignored by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition.
Describing living conditions at the camps as “abhorrent,” UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley said the agency fears they won’t get better, especially the Moria camp om Lesnos the BBC called “the worst in the world,” and another on Samos.
Greek islands near the Turkish coast have been overwhelmed for three years with Turkey allowing human traffickers to send refugees and migrants, even now during a suspended European Union swap deal that is supposed to see those not deemed eligible for asylum returned to Turkey.
“With winter approaching and more people arriving, time is of the essence and emergency measures are needed,” Yaxley said. The UNHCR welcomed plans to create space for another 6,000 people in mainland camps holding some 50,000 aleadybut said the 11,000 arrivals in the last three months have “outpaced” departures.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic said Greece must urgently adopt long-term measures to improve the reception and integration of migrants but there was no response from the government which has also not taken heed of warnings from some 20 human rights and activist groups about conditions in the centers and camps.