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Society

Refugee, Migrant Tent City on Lesbos Floods Again, Misery Prevails

December 15, 2020

LESBOS, Greece — For the third time since it was hastily built after a fire destroyed the notorious Moria center on Lesbos, a tent city holding more than 7,000 people on the island flooded again, leaving people splashing through water.

The Italian news wire agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) said two days of heavy rainfall created unlivable conditions, reporting that families with children were wading through pools of dirty water and mud.

It said tents were also blown away, the homes in which the detainees will have to spend the winter after the European Union, which promised to help and then backed away, with a new facility not expected until September, 2021.

Adding to the misery of being in tents in in overcrowded conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kara Tepe camp, as it is called is as bad, residents said, as Moria, which the BBC called “the worst in the world.”

Greece’s New Democracy faced further criticism after the flooding which came two weeks after Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis visited the site to inspect anti-flood measures after the site was flooded twice in October.

Social media accounts of several NGOs and national newspapers published  images and videos showing disruption at the site, with many tents completely flooded out and sunken in the mud.

Tommy Olsen, head of the Norwegian NGO Aegean Boat, posted a media statement saying: "It's unbelievable that Europe can let this happen on European soil in 2020. Over 7,000 people are living in this camp, many of them children, under inhumane conditions. This is the situation in the new camp on Lesbos that many refer to as Moria 2.0. The Greek government claims to have provided sufficient housing, but the pictures show the reality, I'm lost for words."

The major opposition SYRIZA also leaped on the government as it has stepped up criticism for the handling of the pandemic although the Leftists were in power when the Moria camp was ripped as unlivable by human rights groups.

SYRIZA Shadow Minister for Migration George Psychogios tweeted: "I trust Mr. Mitarakis is happy, after all it was he who promoted the new structure at Kara Tepe as a model (!!) to follow, while at the same time he is preparing to build prisons for thousands of people on the islands. But I hope those in the EU are also happy, as they turn a blind eye to this misery, making the countries on the frontline warehouses of souls without collective solutions and mandatory solidarity with refugees."

At the end of November, following the inspection, Mitarakis had said that the Kara Tepe was "a clean facility, and a site with order and safety," while also stating that "we have completed the surveys and studies with the relevant authorities to ensure soil quality, and flood protection projects are being completed for winter protection,” said ANSA.

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