Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall are making life even harder for thousands of refugees living in limbo across Greece. Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas admitted that the situation on the islands due to the sub-zero temperatures is not acceptable but suggested that the main reason for this is that locals have obstructed plans to expand reception facilities so migrants can be moved out of the hotspots, where some are housed in tents.
"The UN Refugee Agency is today reiterating its call to accelerate the moving of asylum seekers from the Aegean islands to the Greek mainland," spokesman Adrian Edwards said last Friday in Geneva. "The need for better protection will become all the more acute this weekend when temperatures on the islands are expected to drop. We are worried."
With a Question to the Migration Policy Minister submitted in the Parliament, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) urgently asks from the government to provide protection to the refugees and immediately relocate them from the islands. The question, submitted by the KKE MP Christos Katsiotis, is the following:
(Translated by In Defense of Communism)
"Despite the early and continuous interventions of our Party and the bodies of the labour-peoples movement for the need to take immediate measures for the protection of refugees and immigrants from the heavy winter, despite the soothing assurances given by the government and the Minister, the recent snow brought to the surface the dramatic living conditions in the hotsports of Moria, Lesbos; of Samos, Chios as well as to the camps of Malakasa and elsewhere.
The government bears all responsibility for the fact that thousands of people, including little children, are freezing in tents or even in containers and covered places which either do not have heating or heating does not function. The government- and all those who defend the EU-Turkey agreement- bears all responsibility for the double entrapment of refugees and migrants in the islands of northern and eastern Aegean, under appalling conditions, with plans which lead to the deterioration of them through the creation of detention centers. (The government) bears responsibility for the fact that the NGOs which prey on community funds and are "in charge" in the hotspots and the camps, decide if and when the refugees will be provided with the winter clothes and blankets offered by our people as a sign of practical solidarity.
The statements of the government officials- who say things like "we suited" 9,000 from the 10,000 refugees and the rest 1,000 are at the mercy of snow and cold- consist a provocation.
We ask Mr.Minister, what measures he will take so that:
- No refugee or immigrant will stay in a tent- none without heating, electricity and water, without suitable feeding for the winter, without public health care. Winter clothes and special blankets must be given immediately under the responsibility of state authorities.
- The double-entrapped refugees and migrants to relocate immediately from the islands and to stop the plans for the creation of detention centers".