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Alarm in Greece as four migrants die in refugee camps in a week

Three migrants died within a week at the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, while a fourth  was found dead at a camp on the island of Samos. The deaths have increased concerns about the living conditions of thousands of people who continue to live in tents, and cast fresh doubts over a pledge by the Migration Ministry in early January to take the necessary precautions as heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures engulfed the country.

A migrant from Pakistan was found dead on Monday in his tent at Moria, while a second man, a 30-year-old Afghan, living in the same tent was transferred to a local hospital. According to local media, doctors found that the Afghan was poisoned with carbon monoxide. Most probably the poisoning was caused by a makeshift stove. The dead is believed to be about 20 years old.

His death follows the deaths of a 22-year-old Egyptian man on Jan. 24 and of a 46-year-old Syrian man on Jan. 28.

On Monday it was revealed that an Iraqi man, 41, was found dead on Jan. 25 at a camp on the island of Samos.

The bodies of the dead have been sent for autopsy but despite the days passed, no official announcement about the causes of the deaths has been made so far.

Greek media reported that the first two men died after inhaling fumes from a stove, but authorities have declined to confirm or deny that.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the deaths and have ruled out foul play, a police official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There is concern, and the force is on alert to investigate what’s going on,” the official said.

However, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said Monday that the number of United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) employees at the camps has dropped, making a difficult situation even tougher.

He also said a plan to move people to hotels while the so-called hot spots received a makeover fell through after local authorities and hoteliers disagreed.

He vowed to reporters that steps will be taken “to make the situation more manageable,” while migrants, meanwhile, say they are at breaking point.

The latest incidents occurred as the UNHCR and other organizations have called on Greece to improve living conditions.

A coroner has asked for more tests to ascertain the cause of death for the latter two. Initial assessments attributed their deaths to fume inhalations from stoves they had lit to keep warm.

Two camps on Lesvos serve as temporary shelter for 4,891 refugees and migrants. The camps capacity is for 3,500 people. Overcrowded is also the camp on Samos: it hosts 1,800 when the capacity is for 850.

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants are stuck in Greece, as EU member states refuse to implement the EU Turkey Deal and do their share in terms of relocation.

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