Photographs of Daily Life in an Overcrowded Refugee Camp
About 1,500 people live in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. One of them documented his life there for a month.
Photos courtesy of Anonymous
This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
Around 6,000 people are spending the winter in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. According to the United Nations, about 1,500 of them – including women and children – live in makeshift tents without insulation, flooring or heating. In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro this summer, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras didn't dwell on the horrid conditions: "We have received more than 60,000 refugees into mainland Greece, living in good conditions, with access to medical attention and education," he said. "I am proud of that – even though the situation remains difficult."
To see what it's really like in Moria, one refugee living there agreed to document his everyday life for a month – on the condition that he remains anonymous.
Earlier today, two trucks carrying refugees arrived at our camp. Moria is already full and the situation is intolerable as it is. So many children are living in these terrible conditions, exposed and vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. Here are some photos of our living conditions.
Here's an example of the queue to get a meal in Moria:
A typical meal consists of an orange, cheese, a piece of bread, and some vegetable soup.
We often resort to making our own food, because of the poor quality of the stuff we're given. If we have money, there's a meat and fish market we can buy produce from in the area. There's a supermarket nearby, too. To cook and stay warm, we build fires with the wood we find in the nearby forest.
Last night, a fight broke out between some Syrians and Afghans, but the reason is still unclear. There was a standoff with the police, too. Some people were badly injured and an ambulance was called. The violence left marks on the outside wall of one of the trailers.
Today's breakfast consisted of an apple, a flatbread and a bottle of water.
In the evening, a man from Guinea climbed onto a roof and tried to commit suicide, but the police were able to talk him down. Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time.
One of the hardest things about life in the camp is the boredom. Some people kill time by playing board games, others spend the day at one of the bars that have popped up around the camp, where you can buy alcohol or, sometimes, even hire a prostitute.
This morning, policemen gathered in Moria to protest on behalf of their colleagues, who have been accused and disciplined for helping a few migrants escape the camp.
Today, there was a protest in Lesbos' capital, Mytilene, about our poor living conditions. The African refugees didn't go – we avoid protests like this one, because when anything goes wrong, local police always blame Africans. And when we're wrongfully arrested, NGOs or government officials don't help us.
It’s freezing cold, but we’re still living in tents.
Moria is very unsanitary – rubbish bags are often just left out on the streets.
Since the camp is so overcrowded, there's not really anywhere to go for shelter when it's raining. And it rains often now that we're heading into December.