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Society

Refugee Found Dead in Lesbos Camp, Protests Over Living Conditions

January 8, 2019

After the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition ignored repeated entreaties from human rights groups about conditions at refugee and migrant detention centers on Greek islands, a man died at a camp on Lesbos and protests over living in tents went on at another.

A 24-year-old man from Cameroon was found dead inside the overcrowded Moria migrant camp on the eastern Aegean island, the state-run news agency ANA-MPA said. After a visit there, the BBC said the facility was “the worst in the world.”

The government has been promising for three years to improve conditions but has been relatively little as a Greek newspaper reported that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, in control of 1.5 billion euros ($1.72 billion) for the camps, had steered contracts to friends with no explanation why the facilities haven’t been upgraded.

The migrant was reportedly found by his friends at 2 a.m. on Jan. 8. His body was transferred to the hospital in Mytilene where doctors confirmed his death. A coroner is investigating the causes of death. No further details were provided on the incident.

NGOs have repeatedly slammed the dire living conditions in the overcrowded camp, the biggest in Greece.

Three migrants died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Moria in January 2017 trying to stay warm with makeshift stoves in a facility that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was “proud of,” and has said nothing for months about the camps and centers.

Dozens of refugees housed in tents in a camp in northern Greece at the Diavata camp in central Macedonia protested living conditions as temperatures plunged well below freezing and snow blanketed the area with weather so cold across the country that schools were closed.

Police said about 40 refugees in the overcrowded camp protested outside the facility, burning tires and blocking a road outside the camp.

A passing truck driver and one refugee were injured in a fight that broke out after the driver attempted to break through the barricade. Four people were detained, police said.

The Diavata camp has a capacity of 700 people but currently houses 1,410.

Of those, 700 live in containers turned into small houses, a further 300 are staying in large communal buildings in the camp and about 400 live in tents.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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