Situated on the Greek island of Lesbos, the Moria refugee camp is currently experiencing a plethora of harrowing issues.
Due to rising anger over the number of migrants arriving by sea, a number of doctors have been attacked by local vigilantes whilst attempting to visit the camp for aid purposes. This has led to a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) cancelling their provision of services due to concerns over safety. In addition, there is now a confirmed case of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) amongst the population.
The Moria Camp is home to 20,000 refugees
The work of NGOs is a vital lifeline to refugees in Moria- sanitary conditions at the camp are so poor that scabies and lice are very real concerns. Added to this, respiratory illnesses are common, making the confirmed arrival of Coronavirus likely to cause immense suffering.
Not only does Coronavirus cause respiratory difficulties, it is of far more danger to those who already have an underlying condition. With this in mind, residents in the Moria camp are at huge risk of both infection and being unable to fight the virus. It is of paramount importance that refugees and asylum seekers have access to food and healthcare. Yet due to rising tensions, aid is currently only provided on a sporadic basis.
Anti-migrant violence has led to substantial parts of the camp- including a volunteer-run school and a food warehouse- being destroyed in fires. One organisation who were forced to cancel their services was Médecins San Frontières (MSF). Once their services were resumed, they were overwhelmed by patients, demonstrating the extent of suffering currently faced by refugees at Moria.
The camp currently has 20,000 inhabitants, almost half of whom are children. With children already contracting illnesses such as pneumonia due to the horrific conditions- and Coronavirus likely to spread to other residents- it is vitally important that aid organisations are able to access the camp to provide desperately-needed healthcare.
However, with the presence of Coronavirus in the camp likely to trigger more resentment of refugees, there are legitimate fears that the violence may continue. This will prove disastrous, with the Coronavirus outbreak making the work of NGOs more valuable than ever.
[Image Credit: The Atlantic]