Women at Moria camp Lesvos where being given diapers so they don't have to go to the toilet alone at night | Credit: Doctors without Borders
Women at Moria camp Lesvos where being given diapers so they don't have to go to the toilet alone at night | Credit: Doctors without Borders

Greece continues to fight what appears to be a losing battle in its efforts to deal with sharply rising levels of overcrowding at refugee camps on the Eastern Aegean islands following significant arrivals this month. According to official figures released, a total of 1,877 people have arrived on boats from the Turkish coast since October 1, prompting more calls from help from local mayors and officials.

Some 5,000 migrant arrivals were recorded in September alone. Chios and Lesvos in particular are struggling under the increased burden. The mayors and the Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDE) have called for urgent action. ''The increased migrant flows from Turkey in recent months, combined with enormous delays in their relocation and minimal repatriation, are disrupting social cohesion and fostering ill sentiment from some minority groups,'' said KEDE president Giorgos Patoulis, who has called for a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. 

Patoulis has also called for a meeting with EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, island mayors and KEDE representatives.

 'Women can't go to the toilets alone', says MSF 

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have joined the chorus of concern from NGOs and human rights groups about the increasingly dire situation, especially on Chios and Lesvos. MSF posted a photograph of a broken toilet from the Moria camp on Chios claiming that most women are being given adult diapers to wear so as to avoid going to the bathroom alone at night. The caption read: ''in Moria the situation is so dire that adult diapers are given to women, too scared to go to the toilet at night. Let that sink in''.

On Thursday, a migrant reportedly attempted suicide at the VIAL camp on Chios, which hosts 1,964 people in a space built to hold 800. The open letter from the KEDE comes days after more than 40 volunteer organizations and groups operating on Greek islands and the mainland began a campaign to warn of the risk that refugees could die of cold this winter in the camps. 

Athenians in several neighborhoods across the city last week awoke to find various places plastered with the emblematic picture of Moria camp on Lesvos covered in snow last winter, while the collective has also launched a campaign on social media with the hashtag #opentheislands. The move comes just five days after a five-year-old child died at the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesvos. 

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