Many NGOs have ceased from operating on the islands, leaving only voluntary organizations that decide to remain there with more work and more problems to solve. The European Asylum Support Office is understaffed, refugee camps are crammed and overcrowded.
Meanwhile the public and political appetite for hearing about the plight of the refugees — or indeed offering workable solutions — appears to be waning as sea rescues, as well as saving lives, administering first aid and coping with the crisis on the islands has been almost left solely to the volunteers who choose to remain there.
“It’s difficult to operate in Moria, the refugee hotspot on Lesbos,” Dimitris Papandreou, volunteer coordinator for Medicines du Monde, told Sputnik.
“There have been lots of incidents in the last few days, mainly conflicts between nationalities, including riots.”
“Glass was smashed in the windows of one of our medical points — luckily no one inside was hurt as everyone had been evacuated. But that wasn’t the only medical loss; the medical center inside the camp has been destroyed,” Papandreou told Sputnik.
“There is a matter of safety for the NGOs volunteers and staff, also for the people living inside the camp which is overcrowded. Many NGOs left, which meant that those like us who decided to remain, have more things to do, more responsibilities — and more problems.”
However, Papandreou was keen to stress that Medecins du Monde is still providing its services at the Moria hotspot.
“We strongly believe there is a need for a medical NGO to be present at the site — we can’t help every problem, especially those involving human rights but we’re trying to focus on the issue, make suggestions to try and improve the situation.”
Following a recent riot on Lesbos and the evacuation of the camp, many refugees are housed in tents close to the gates of the hotspot.
“It’s a temporary measure and I don’t know what the authorities will do with these people, we are trying to provide first aid.”
Papandreou told Sputnik that there are at least 3000 people inside the Moria camp — and it only has the capacity for 1000.
“All facilities and services are severely stretched — and have been since the EU-Turkey deal came into force on 20 March.”
It appears the EU deal with Turkey is offering no solution to the burnt camps in Greece that are dangerously close to reaching saturation point.