Lesbos: Greeks receive ridicule and criticism for new refugee camp

1000 tents were erected on the site, each offering space for eight to ten people. Medical supply stations are to be added, and two quarantine zones are planned. But there are other options too. The Vice-President of the EU Parliament, Katarina Barley (SPD), had suggested that the refugees from Moria be accommodated on unused cruise ships for the time being. Some shipping companies have agreed to support, even free of charge. However, the EU Commission thinks little of it and rejected the Barley plan. This variant is “not cost-efficient compared to other options, many more people can be accommodated at the same cost,” the “RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland” quoted a commission spokesman.

But even when you look at the new Lesvos warehouse, the question arises as to how cost-effective and well-designed it is. It is right on the beach and has an unpaved surface. The tents are set up on this. “A new, temporary reception center was organized within a few days. It is in a different place and offers much better conditions than those that prevailed in Moria, ”said the Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas on Thursday.

Lesbos: Will new camp on the beach withstand autumn storms?

Of course, the camp looks clean in its current condition and at first glance looks much better compared to the misery in Moria. The tents are in orderly rows, can be seen on photos. The entire area offers sea views due to its proximity to the beach. But is that really important for the refugees? And what if the autumn rains and storms set in?

At the beginning of August, a thunderstorm on the island of Evia washed away entire beach promenades, including cars and people. Greece is currently preparing for a tropical cyclone. This time, Lesbos is probably not one of the islands that are affected. But that could change quickly in the autumn.

The camp site “Kara Tepe”, Turkish for “black hill”, was classified as unsuitable for use as a harbor some time ago. The Chamber of Engineers of Greece now notes that the installation of the bearing was carried out without any compatibility studies or suitability tests. The engineers criticize that stretches of beach are piled up without a plan. In addition, neither archaeological experts nor the forest authorities were apparently asked for advice. There are archaeological finds around Kara Tepe, but there are also remains of ammunition. These could pose a threat to children playing, for example.

Reading tip: SPD and Greens want to accommodate Moria refugees on cruise ships

The future of the new refugee camp on Lesbos is uncertain

A part of the now built camp belongs to the military, another part was hastily leased by the state. According to the data published by the government in the transparency database, the lease for part of the site is 142,051 euros until December 31, 2020.

A total lease of 2.75 million euros was agreed for the rest of the site up to and including 2025. According to the local newspaper Sto Nisi, the price is higher than the value of the site in question.

The new Kara Tepe camp is being designed as the largest reception camp in Europe. According to the Greek government, all refugees should have left the island of Lesbos by Easter. A contradiction, which is commented on by the opposition with the cynical statement that it is unclear “which Easter and in which year the minister has in mind”.

A valid question. When the Moria camp was declared a large reception camp during the 2015-2016 refugee crisis, the then government of Tsipras promised that it would only be a transit camp in which the refugees would have to stay for a maximum of two weeks. The motto “nothing is more permanent than temporary solutions” applies consistently to all Greek governments.

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