Who is responsible for the inhuman living conditions amid severe snow weather for thousands of refugees and migrants stuck on the islands of Lesvos? Everybody in charge – even thought all sides involved zealously exercise the famous Blame Game as the lives of thousands at the freezing-cold hot spot of Moria are at risk.
After reports from the island showed pictures of men, women, children and elderly having to come through the bitter cold in tents covered by snow, the outcry was huge.
International NGOs blamed the Greek government and so did the UNHCR and the European Commission. Some claimed that the “Warehouses on the island were full with goods.” However, it was never explained what kind of goods were in the warehouses and how could they comfort the freezing people.
The EC said that it is first of all on the responsibility of the Greek government to secure living conditions for the refugees.
The Greek government initially kept silent, while the opposition parties accused the government of “inability to deal with and manage the situation.”
Monday afternoon in the Greek Parliament, Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas came under harsh criticism. He admitted partial “responsibility for the situation”. On his part, he blamed the local authorities and local politicians of New Democracy for having objected the establishment of new hot spots on the island.
In a last minute move, the government in cooperation with the UNHCR and local hotel owners apparently arranged the transfer of vulnerable groups.
— Fotini Rantsiou (@FotiniRantsiou) January 9, 2017
However, the local Association of Hotel owners advised its members to refrain from renting their facilities to the UNHCR according to touristic renting scheme, claiming a relevant decision taken by the general assembly three months ago.
Speaking to news website NewsIt, the president of Mytilene Hoteliers Periklis Antoniou said “We understand the humanitarian aspect especially in these cold days, but we are morally committed to the Association recommendation. It is not us to solve the problem.” Antoniou hinted that the UNHCR knew about the upcoming cold and snow weather front.
Locals reported on Monday that taking pictures of tents under loads of snow was banned. Locals said there were enough empty state buildings and churches that could offer shelter.
On STAR TV, journalists blamed the European Commission for the suffering in the snow because “the EC gave 700million euros to NGOs” and not to the Greek government. According to Star TV, the majority of NGO left after the snow broke in, behind were left the government, the UNHCR and the Greek Army that considers to relocate the refugees from Moria to some military camps.
Meanwhile, the island of Lesvos is heavily hit by the snow with the effect that there are power outages.
+++ State broadcaster ERT reported at 9 pm, that “130 people are been currently relocated into a hotel.” And the Hoteliers need a general assembly meeting in order to revise their previous decision.