Alarm in Greece over third migrant death in one camp in a week

by Reuters
Monday, 30 January 2017 13:23 GMT

A migrant is covered with a plastic cover to protect from low temperatures as snow lays next to tents provided by the UNHCR at the refugee camp of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 10, 2017. Petros Tsakmakis/Intimenews via REUTERS

Image Caption and Rights Information

ATHENS, Jan 30 (Reuters) - A migrant was found dead on Monday in his tent on Greece's Lesbos island, the third death there in a week, raising alarm about conditions in Greek camps.

The man is believed to be about 20 and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. His death at the island's Moria camp follows those on Jan. 24 and Jan. 28 of a 22-year-old Egyptian man and a 46-year-old Syrian.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the deaths and have ruled out foul play, the police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"There is concern, and the force is on alert to investigate what's going on," the official said.

Greek media reported that the first two men died after inhaling fumes from a stove, but authorities have declined to confirm or deny that.

About 4,800 refugees and migrants live in two camps on Lesbos, roughly 1,000 over capacity. Conditions at Moria, a former hilltop military base, have deteriorated as asylum-seekers wait for months for decisions on their applications.

A Greek government spokesman was not immediately reachable for comment.

More than 60,000 refugees and migrants, most from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been stranded in formal or makeshift camps in Greece since last March. Thousands endured heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures earlier this month as a mid-winter freeze gripped parts of the country, including Lesbos.

The United Nations refugee agency and other international organisations have urged Greece to improve conditions at its overcrowded facilities, which U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch has described as "deplorable and volatile."

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.