Another week, another migrant tragedy in Greece

9-month old baby dies of dehydration

19 November, 14:31

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, 18 NOV - The ongoing refugee crisis in Greece continues to lurch from one tragedy to the next with the death of a nine-month old baby at the notoriously overcrowded Moria reception center on the island of Lesvos the latest in a long line of black pages in what continues to be an extremely sad story.

    The Greek arm of NGO organization Meicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) confirmed at the weekend that a baby had died a few days ago in hospital after being admitted with severe dehydration. Despite receiving emergency care in hospital, the infant did not survive.

    "The MSF team has confirmed the information with the hospital.

    We are overwhelmed by this new tragedy," said a statement by eicins Sans Frontieres via their Twitter account.

    The organisation urged the Greek government and EU once again to act quicker and take drastic measures to resolve the current mass overcrowding and squalid living conditions refugees face especially on the island camps. "Children are dying in Europe due to neglect of health care and unacceptable living conditions; nothing has improved nearly four years after the EU-Turkey agreement. It's outrageous and cannot go on. The mental and physical health of people at Moria is constantly at risk. Greece and the European Union must act immediately!" This latest death another dark stain in the history of Greece's refugee crisis which exploded in 2015, stabilized somewhat from 2016-18 but has once again blew up in a big way in 2019.

    Approximately 15,000 people are staying in and around the Moria camp on Lesvos, cramped into a space more than four times its capacity of just 3,000.

    Greece continues to struggle with the ongoing migrant crisis, which has begun to spiral out of control since the summer. The island camps are desperately overcrowded and the flows of people coming into the country continues unabated.

    According to the latest official data, a total of 10,882 migrants crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands from September 16 to October 16 alone. And the influx has continued in the early part of November.

    The government has begun to step up a program of transferring migrants from island camps to alternative sites on the mainland, but progress is slow and exacerbated by continuing incoming flows of people as well as opposition from locals in the mainland communities where the state wants to build new or extend existing facilities.

    Although Greece's parliament finally approved a new controversial bill on asylum earlier this month, in an effort to tackle the growing refugee crisis, there has been strong opposition from SYRIZA and human rights groups, who have labelled the new stricter laws "a naked attempt to block access to protection and increase deportations." The controversial and complex 237-page bill entitled "international protection and other provisions" is mainly focused on asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the idea is that it will empower Greece to process asylum claims quicker, as well as send more people illegible back to Turkey.

    But the bill is being seen as inhumane, especially by human rights groups. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR also expressed its concerns about the legislation, saying that it could weaken the protection of refugees.(ANSAmed).

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