All posts tagged: greece

Leros, Greece: refugees’ daily life on the island, a reportage

Leros, a sleepy island in the Aegean, harbors one of Greece’s five refugee hotspots. The island is famous for its volcanic topography, rationalist architecture, and fascist Italian occupation – and it’s only miles from Turkey. The refugee camp sits on the ocean’s edge- an otherwise picturesque coastline that draws tourists from around Europe during sweeter summer months. The camp opened in March 2016 with the capacity to hold up to 980 residents. Today, the camp is dangerously overcrowded. There are nearly 3,200 refugees on the island, over 1,000 of which are homeless. To protect themselves from bitter temperatures and days of unrelenting rain, they’ve inhabited a sprawl of abandoned buildings surrounding the fenced camp. These dilapidated buildings once operated as a mental asylum, until the asylum was exposed for embezzlement and human rights abuses in 1989. The buildings are still littered with rusty bedframes and faded Greek medical documents. The roof is caving and the floor is covered in broken glass. There is no electricity – nor toilets, showers or garbage bins. The police regularly …