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Since a fire ravaged the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last September, the transfer of refugees to the European continent has accelerated. But the 7,000 or so people still on Lesbos are resigned to waiting months for their asylum applications to be examined.
At the reception centre for migrants and refugees on Lesbos, the days are long and painful.
“This painting tells the story of refugees like us. Of how we were looking for a better future, and afraid of drowning, of how the NGOs have helped us. And we hope that one day we’ll be able to fly from here,” said Shukran Shirzad, a painter from Afghanistan.
Six months ago, he and his wife, Lida, were still living at the Moria camp. Now they live at a former Greek army training camp.
“It’s not much better here, there is a lack of doctors. Those who are there only give us paracetamol,” Shirzad said.
Lida Shirzad added that she had had other expectations when coming to Europe. “I didn’t imagine Europe like this. I thought it was all about security and education. I was a teacher in Kabul and I am very sad to see children here playing with trash and doing nothing else.”
Greece has pledged to build a new reception centre on the other side of the island, but in the face of protest from locals, the project is delayed. And health measures put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have not improved the situation.
Click on the video player above to watch the full report by Alexia Kefalas and Sudha Iliades.