Thousands of refugees now live in “government structures”, including in disused industrial warehouses, and in open fields in remote landscapes throughout Northern Greece. The lack of space, security, shelter, food, water, comfort, services, aid, sanitation, education and health-care in these environments is of great concern to many. The Hellenic Centre for Disease Control has called for the closure of the camps on public health grounds.
The current “reception centres” cannot offer sufficient protection from summer heat, flooding, the cold of winter, or criminals who bring additional suffering, fear and hardship in some camps, and they do not offer the opportunity for dignified living. There are serious environmental hazards, fire risks and social threats in some camps.
Though the government has informally referred to the temporary nature of existing accommodations, there is no clarity as to when and how people can be moved into safer and more dignified conditions. UNHCR and other agencies are reporting a huge nationwide deficit of appropriate long-term housing solutions, including for the most vulnerable