Refugee camps are bursting at the seams. Tents lack floors or heating. Women and children are camped along the streets or in the woods. And hundreds of children, often without an adult to take care of them, don’t have the attention and health care they need.
For Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea are now an outdoor jail. Humanitarian organizations say living conditions in the camps of Chios, Samos, Kos, Lesbos and Leros are no longer tolerable. Often entire families are forced to find makeshift shelter themselves. Europe has watched the situation without intervening, even as the Greek government seems unable to cope. It is expected to worsen with the coming of winter.
“People are now sleeping in the streets or at Sappho Square, in the center of the town,” Lesbos Mayor Spyridon Galinos told the Kathimerini newspaper recently. “With the first rainfall, we will suffer flooding and we will have trouble managing this situation.” He also highlighted that among the desperate abandoned refugees, there are pregnant women, disabled people and children.