Nine months after the EU-Turkey refugee agreement and the official closing of the Balkan route towards north Europe, thousands of refugees and migrants are being forced to live indefinitely in concentration camps across Greece, in horrendous conditions, with no hope for tomorrow, being exposed to below zero temperatures, in inadequate and unacceptable dwellings or even tents.
The tragic images of refugees living in tents covered with snow and barefoot toddlers in the muddy water of the camps, waiting in long queues for a plate of food under unbearable temperatures, are still fresh. Despite government claims that the measures for the protection of refugees from the adverse weather conditions have been successfully completed, the preparation for protecting migrants and refugees who are trapped in the Greek islands has failed, despite the millions of euros that have been given to prepare for the winter, which recently has been harsh even for Greek weather standards.
And it’s no wonder, since the Greek government, local municipalities and NGO’s see refugees as a business opportunity.
And for these reasons for many months since the initial wave of refugees coming to Greece in 2015 the government and the police -through media propaganda and arrests- managed to demonize and barred all the hundreds of volunteers that in a self organized manner were helping the thousands of refugees arriving to Greece. Then they imprisoned the refugees into camps guarded by the police, from which they are allowed out of them for few hours a day, (which is pointless in most cases since they are situated far away from villages or cities, so that contact with people and necessary services is avoided or prevented), forbidden outsiders to visit the camps, even reporters or photojournalists without supervised permission and directed all the money to NGO’s to run the camps (many of them were set up just a bit after the first refugee waves sensing the flow of money to the European entry point of Greece). There have even been situations were local authorities used the money they got to hire people to help the refugees indeed to hire employees but use them for completely different duties serving the local authorities, based on the excuse that greece is under financial crisis, thus we see these appealing conditions in camps were already to refugees have died in January.