MSF calls for immediate transfer of refugees from Lesvos to mainland Greece

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Thursday called on Greek authorities to immediately transfer refugees and migrants from Lesvos to mainland Greece.

At the same time, they warned about the dangers of the difficult conditions prevailing in Moria, as well as of the policy of restricting migrants and refugees to the islands.

“Thousands of people in Lesvos – men, women and children – live in miserable conditions, with insufficient access to essential medical assistance. As around 500 people arrive on Lesvos every week, the overcrowding and the growing demand for medical and other services have brought Moria’s camp to the brink once more. Médecins Sans Frontières appeals to the Greek authorities for the immediate transfer of people from Lesvos to the mainland, as well as for an immediate improvement of healthcare provision on the island,” they said.

The organisation said there are currently more than 7,000 people living in Moria, “a structure with a maximum capacity of 2,500 people.” They also added that “living conditions and limited medical care are a major risk to the health and life of people trapped on the island.”

“The conditions in Moria’s camp are dangerous and totally unhealthy, especially for children,” said paediatrician and medical coordinator of Médecins Sans Frontières, Deckan Barry. “Every day we face many health problems associated with lack of hygiene, such as vomiting and diarrhea, skin infections and other infectious diseases, and then, after dealing with them, patients have to return to the same bad conditions. It’s an unbearable vicious circle. The combination of unhealthy and dangerous conditions that increase childhood illnesses, the absence of adequate recovery conditions for sick children and poor access to health services are detrimental to children’s health,” Barry added.

MSF nurse Katerina Katopodi, on her part, said: “We have warned for months about the dramatic deterioration of the physical and mental health situation in Lesvos. The authorities have not responded to this clear need, and people’s suffering continues to grow. Everyday we see in our clinics patients with urgent needs, many of them the result of self-harm injuries or suicide attempts.”