Video: Greece’s harsh winter puts refugees at huge risk

Published 11th January 2017

This video clip shows the shocking winter living conditions at Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos.

As of 10 January in Moria, hundreds of men, women, and children were still sleeping in cold tents as snow continued for the fourth day. Greece’s government is sending a naval ship to Lesvos to house some of the camp’s residents and is also rushing to transfer people to hotels, Reuters has reported.

Doctors of the World works in Moria and several camps across Greece. Our team in Moria is providing medical care and essential items, such as sleeping bags and warm clothes, for those in need.

Last month, we were one of the first charities to warn that moves to prepare Greece’s refugee camps for the tough winter ahead were not moving quickly enough, creating huge health risks for refugees and migrants.

An estimated 62,000 migrants and refugees have been stranded in Greece, the Guardian has reported, after other European countries closed their borders last year.

“The only thing we could do when the weather is so cold is to light fires,” says Ahmed, a refugee from A’zaz, Syria, who now lives at Redestos camp, a warehouse in Northern Greece. “It is dangerous and spreads smoke. So we lit fires outside. But when we went back inside it was still too cold to sleep, so we had to light fires inside as well. We have never seen living conditions so bad. We did not think we would be left this way.”

Doctors of the World has called on the EU, the UN, and Greece’s government to work faster and harder to get refugees out of these terrible conditions. We also believe that other European countries must help Greece by taking in their fair share of refugees. Everyone deserves a warm place to stay during the winter.

The video clip was shot by Philippa Kempson, a Lesvos resident who has been helping give aid to the island’s refugees since 2015.

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