Literally buried in the snow were the tents providing shelter to several thousands of refugees and migrants in the camp of Moria. The snow weather stroke the island of Lesvos and neighboring islands of Chios and had the thousands living in tents desperately seeking protection and warmth.
Many of the Moria residents saw snow for the first time in their lives. It might have been a pleasant experience if it wasn’t for having to live in the snow.
The tents of UN High Commissioner could not protect them from the extremely low temperature.
Athens News Agency reports from Lesvos, that wood was set on fire in wood stoves outside the canteens in containers.
Some refugees and migrants started to walk towards the city of Mytilene, some 5 km way, in order to find more appropriate shelter from the icy-cold and the snow.
There are some 3,000 people living in Moria.
Non-governmental organizations and volunteers working with refugees denounced that despite the weather forecast warning there was no adequate preparation to meet the challenge by those responsible.
In contrast, in Kara reception center that is run by the municipality, the situations for refugees is much better as the families there live in heated containers.
A day earlier, the UNHCR made an appeal to have refugees and migrants relocated from the islands to the mainland – something which is prohibited under the EU Turkey deal. The UNHCR spoke of insufficient living conditions on the islands.
In Moria there are only two big heated tents, and one in the north beach. In cooperation with some NGO there were efforts to set wooden floors inside the majority of the tents.
On Samos, the 700 people – among them many children and vulnerable groups – live in tents without heating.
Efforts to bring heating devices also in the tents in the camp of Souda on the island of Chios were also underway” the UNHCR said in a statement.
Dozens of additional blankets and sleeping bags were distributed in the last days – however everybody living in an environment without heating knows that it is not a solution to have to remain down wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags.
Sunday noon, temperature on Lesvos was -2° Celsius. The harsh weather conditions are expected to continue also next week.
PS I suppose, those responsible are sitting in their warm offices in Brussels trying to figure out how and when they can get rid of snow. They may also wonder what went wrong with the #EUDeal Funding or their so well-planned Relocation scheme. Fragments of thoughts flying around the moment they throw a piece of wood into the posh fireplace.