The EU’s Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has been left in a ‘state of filth and fear – and one migrant said “we’ve gone from one hell to another.”
Uniformed aid workers go home at sunset, leaving vulnerable refugees at the mercy of their campmates – and rape and violence is reportedly rife.
Moria is one of Europe’s largest camps, with 5000 people now living there.
The Sunday Times gained access to both the camp and refugees and the picture shames the EU.
A refugee called Celine, 22, said: “The men come and they bother me.
“They don’t leave me alone
“I’m scared here. It’s not safe.”
A third of people at the camp are children, many crammed in tents and shipping containers, surrounded by barbed wire.
There are only 120 lavatories and 75 showers for the refugees to share – and many women so fear being raped that they cannot use them.
Hasna, from Northern Syria, said: “I never go to the toilet at night.
“I shower with some water my son brings me.
The EU and Turkey reached a migration deal in 2016 to reduce numbers coming into mainland Europe.
But even in 2018, already more than 2500 migrants have arrived at Greece.
Many of those people complain that there living conditions are worse in the camp than where they came from.
Mohammed, 32, said: “We’ve gone from one hell to another.
“They wanted me to live with 17 other people in a container.”
He arrived at the camp last week from Yarmouk, near Damascus.
Abdulrahman, 28, said: “All the different groups fight each other, and the men drink, all around the children.
“It’s a very bad place.”
Médecins sans Frontières, a charity, runs the clinic outside the camp in protest at conditions inside.
It claims to have treated a number of female victims of rape and sexual violence recently.
But most attacks go unreported according to aid workers.
One Syrian woman said if she was raped, she would not even tell her gynaecologist.
Officials suspect that women are making false claims of rape in Moria to help their asylum applications.
Dimitri Vafeas, Moria’s deputy commander, said: “Many women appear and they say: ‘they attacked me’ or ‘they did rape me.’ But why?
“After that they confessed: ‘I said it so I take vulnerability [protection.]”
Vafeas said that if refugees dislike their living conditions, they are free to live elsewhere on the island.
Camp residents have dug their own lavatories and the stench of sewage is thick.
Officials cannot explain why conditions in Lesbos are so much worse than at other refugee camps.
More than £580million of EU funding has been given to Greece to deal with housing migrants and refugees since 2015.
Vafeas said: “I don’t know, I can’t tell you why conditions are so bad.”
Others within the EU claim that conditions are kept bad to deter people from making the journey to Greece.
Luca Fontana, a field co-ordinator for Médecins sans Frontières, said: “The reason why living conditions here are so bad is to not create a pull factor.
“The European Commission say that in our bilateral meetings.
“When I worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we could get all the medicines and drugs we needed, but here we can’t. It’s disgusting.”