The overcrowded refugee and detention center on the island of Lesbos was “reaching the boiling point,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned, urging more transfers to mainland camps.
There are some 15,000 refugees and migrants on islands near Turkey, which is allowing human traffickers to operate during a suspended swap deal with the European Union, which closed its borders to them, dumping the problem on Greece.
The Lesbos camp Mora has more than 7,000, most of them seeking asylum as a way to prevent being sent back to Turkey or their homelands but there are delays of up to two years or more, setting off frustration and violence between different ethnics groups.
The camp houses people from Iraq, Syria’s civil war, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Arabic countries and the BBC, which got inside with a video crew and described is the worst refugee center in the world.
Lesbos is the prime destination for refugees and migrants and in 2015 some one million passed through on their way to other EU countries before the door was slammed shut and other countries reneged on promises to help take some of the overload from Greece.
The Moria center was designed to hold 2,000 people and Charlie Yaxley, a UNHCR official, told reporters at a briefing that, “There are an increasing number of people presenting with mental health problems, the response and treatment is woefully inadequate,” the news agency Reuters reported.