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AA 31/01/17: NGO critical over Greek island migrant deaths

Investigations continuing into deaths of 3 men on Lesbos.

Three migrants died in Moria camp, Lesbos in the past week, a Greek Migration Ministry spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

According to Kyriakos Mantouvalos, a 20-year-old Egyptian migrant and a 46-year-old Syrian refugee sharing the same tent, plus a 20-year-old Pakistani migrant, died since Jan. 24.

The cause of their deaths remains unconfirmed, with reports suggesting that they could be related to measures taken by the migrants in order to protect themselves from the cold.

David Barney, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders, told Anadolu Agency: “Greek and EU leaders need to stop blindly protecting the EU-Turkish deal and start protecting people's lives.”

Migration Minister Giannis Mouzalas spoke to journalists unofficially on Monday and said he was waiting for a coroner’s report before he made an official comment on the case.

According to official government numbers, more than 6,000 migrants and refugees are currently stranded in Lesbos, an island with the capacity to accommodate no more than 3,500.

“We are taking measures to decongest the Moria camp,” Mouzalas told reporters on Monday, adding that overpopulation is possibly one of the factors which lead to the deaths of the three men.

As Mantouvalos explained, 400 refugees whose asylum requests are valid will be immediately relocated to Kara Tepe camp, Lesbos, as part of the decongestion process.

Another 50 migrants have been moved to a Greek navy cargo ship docked in the port of Lesbos for this exact purpose.

Mouzalas will visit the island on Tuesday, as winter tents and prefabricated cabins will be set up at a field located next to the Moria camp, Mantouvalos added.

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