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More than 19K asylum-seekers on Greek islands, 11K on Lesvos alone

Ten boats carrying a total of 615 people of various nationalities arrived on the island of Lesvos over the weekend, that is from Friday Sep14 until Sunday , Sept 16th 2018.

It is the largest number of arrivals in recent years and the largest in 2018, Athens News Agency notes citing official data released by the Greek Migration Ministry.

The number of asylum-seekers on Lesvos has increased to 11,053 people.

8,912 people are accommodated in the hot spot of Moria that has a capacity for just 3,100.

1,185 asylum seekers live in Kara Tepe accommodation center, and the rest in other smaller facilities.

The total number of asylum seekers on the East Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos Limnos and Kos has reached 19,711 people.

After the joint statement by nineteen NGOs calling the situation in Moria “shameful” and asking authorities to urgently find a solution to the problem, NGO Medicine Sans Frontiere made another appeal on Monday.

“Moria is in  a state of emergency,” writes MSF clinical psychiatrist Dr Alessandro Barberio,  who works in the hot spot, and warns about the .

“In all of my years of medical practice, I have never witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions, as I am witnessing now amongst refugees on the island of Lesbos. The vast majority of people I see are presenting with psychotic symptoms, suicidal thoughts – even attempts at suicide – and are confused. Many are unable to meet or perform even their most basic everyday functions, such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.

Moria camp, in Lesbos, has a maximum capacity of 3,100 people, but is bursting at the seams, with over 9,000 people.

A third of them are children, living in appalling conditions, which are contributing to a considerable deterioration of their physical and mental health.

The asylum seekers include people who have been subjected to extreme forms of torture and violence, both in their countries of origin and during their journey. They have been severely traumatised, both mentally and physically.

In their island prison on Lesbos, they are forced to live in a context that promotes frequent violence in all its forms – including sexual and gender-based violence that affects children and adults. This constant violence serves as a recurrent trigger for the development of severe psychiatric symptoms. The increase in the number of arrivals we’re now seeing on the island, in combination with the disproportionately low departure rate to the mainland, is further exacerbating these conditions and contributes to the growing mental health burden of these people.”

The MSF calls for emergency evacuation of vulnerable people to other EU Member States and warns that child refugees on are increasingly attempting suicide, self-harming or having suicidal thoughts.

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