Two small boys stand behind razor wire at Kara Tepe camp on Lesbos island, Greece, 19 September 2020 | Photo: EPA/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS
Two small boys stand behind razor wire at Kara Tepe camp on Lesbos island, Greece, 19 September 2020 | Photo: EPA/VANGELIS PAPANTONIS

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said that 2,200 migrants and refugees are living in dire conditions in inadequate facilities on Lesbos. About one-third are minors.

A reported 2,200 migrants and refugees are living on the island of Lesbos in inadequate and undignified conditions, in fear they will be forced to go back home, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Friday, December 3.

About 72% of the migrants and refugees are Afghan nationals and one-third are minors, said the humanitarian organization, which provides medical and psychological assistance to adults and kids.

The center of Kara Tepe, the camp where residents of the burned down Moria refugee camp were moved, is similar to a prison due to its fencing and the massive presence of security forces, MSF said in its statement.

In the winter, residents are exposed to freezing wind and any type of weather condition because the camp is located right next to the sea.

Chemical toilets are in awful condition while the few showers available don't have hot water. People can leave the camp for health emergencies or any other medical reason. They otherwise only have three hours of freedom each, twice a week, according to MSF.

Nearly one in two kids has witnessed episodes of violence or murders

"Policies of containment endanger the health of people, forcing them to live in a condition that is comparable to imprisonment, with devastating consequences," said Augusto Cezar Meneguim, MSF chief on Lesbos.

Between January and October 2021, teams of doctors and psychologists of MSF assisted about 70 children with mental health issues.

Over half of them suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and many presented symptoms of anxiety and depression, the NGO said.

Nearly half of them had witnessed episodes of violence or murders (40%) and many experienced at least one episode in which their lives were in danger (44%). Approximately 20% of patients suffered some form of abuse.

MSF treated hundreds of survivors of violence, abuse and torture, which were recognized by authorities, and did not receive any type of support. On the contrary, the NGO highlighted, they were placed in conditions that amplified the traumas they had endured.

'It is not possible to heal in a camp'

"These people will not be able to heal as long as they live in the camp," concluded Meneguim of MSF.

"Their suffering is the result of the obsession of the EU and Greece of stopping migration at all cost, and it is completely avoidable. The time has come for European leaders to think about protecting and assisting people in need, instead of blocking them, dissuading them and sending them back to where they came from."

 

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