Thousands of migrants left homeless by the Moria blaze have been sleeping rough alongside a two-kilometre strech of road north of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos - All photos by Mehdi Chebil
Thousands of migrants left homeless by the Moria blaze have been sleeping rough alongside a two-kilometre strech of road north of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos - All photos by Mehdi Chebil

One week after flames swept through the Moria migrant camp, thousands of people from Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa are still living alongside a stretch of road on the island of Lesbos. They sleep rough in makeshift shelters and have very limited access to food and water supplies. InfoMigrants reports.

It's been one week since blazes razed Europe's largest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, and thousands of migrants remain stranded without proper shelter on a coastal road. The country's migration ministry on Tuesday said that only 800 out of nearly 13,000 migrants accepted to enter a new tent camp erected on a former military shooting range north of Mytilene, the island's capital. InfoMigrants visited the coastal road to see the conditions asylum seekers are facing.

1. Queueing for hours for food donation    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsA large number of migrants head towards a food distribution spot. The beginning of a queue extends several hundred metres. One week after the Moria blaze, food supplies are still limited. A few migrants with the authorization to enter the nearby port of Mytilene can bring back spaghetti, rice, and drinks bought in shops. Most must wait for hours under the hot sun to get free food.

2. Bottle-feeding babies with limited water supplies    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsZahra, an Afghan woman bottle-feeds her baby. The two infants in this picture are aged 5 and 7 months. Bottle-feeding is especially complicated because migrants have no easy access to clean water supplies. In a statement after the blaze, UNICEF said there were more than 4,000 children in the Moria camp. A large number of them are still living on the streets.

3., 4. Showering in the sea       Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsMigrants have no access to sanitation or showers. They go to a small beach behind the road where they clean themselves in the sea. For children, it's also an opportunity to play and forget the tight coronavirus lockdown that prevented Moria migrants from leaving the old camp.    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsAzim cleans his three-year old son Mustafa in the sea. The Afghan father of four keeps a bottle of fresh water to rinse his son afterwards. 

5. Fresh water from irrigation pipes    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsNo water taps have been made available to the thousands of migrants left homeless by the blaze. Their main way to get fresh water is to puncture agricultural pipes leading to olive groves above the road. 

6.  Overflowing garbage bins    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsPiles of trash have been accumulating for a week. The road is blocked on both sides by Greek riot police and it appears that no garbage trucks made it into the informal camp. 

7., 8. An open-air children's playground    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsAfghan children play hopscotch in front of their parents' makeshift shelters on a supermarket parking lot.

    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsA little Afghan girl holds a Congolese child in her arms. Most adults stay with people from their own community -- Afghans with Afghans, Africans with Africans, etc. -- but children from various backgrounds can sometimes be seen playing together.

9., 10. Homeless and hungry in front of shelves packed with food    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsA group of migrants prepare to sleep in front of a Lidl supermaket whose store shelves packed with food and drinks can clearly be seen as the shop keeps its lights on.

    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsAfghan migrants start a fire for their evening meal and tea.

11. Bamboo poles and blankets    Photo Mehdi Chebil for InfoMigrantsOne week after the blaze, there are still not enough tents nor sleeping bags. Migrants sleep in makeshift tents they erected with bamboo poles and blankets.


More articles