Three months after the incident, the photographer Elias Marcou returns to the former camp and captures snapshots of the activities that are evolving there and the transformation that the landscape is undergoing: the area inside the burned RIC is being cleared out by a contractor, while in an unofficial capacity, groups of Roma have taken on part of this clean-up job, collecting wires from inside the structure. Asylum seekers return to collect aluminum scrap and take it to the metal factory, earning just enough money to buy cigarettes. In the olive grove, which used to encircle the original structure, locals arrive with their trucks to gather the leftover branches, tree trunks and roots of the olive trees.
The landscape, captured by Marcou’s lens, reveals fragments from the daily lives of the thousands of people who passed through this land – their traces buried under the ashes.
During the five years of the RIC’s operation, a dense complex of makeshift tents and shacks had formed around the perimeter of the original structure and outwards, towards the olive grove that extended to the surrounding slopes.
Today, most of the olive grove has been leveled and bears almost no resemblance to the fact that just a short time ago, (in an area which had an estimated capacity of maximum 3,000 people), up to 20,000 people were living there in conditions of extreme overcrowding – people who sought refuge in Europe.
More to read
In 2016 Mahmood left Jalalabad, his hometown in Afghanistan, and embarked on a dangerous journey to Europe. After six months he made it to Greece. We meet him in a flat in the suburbs of Athens, which he shares with up to twelve other compatriots; struggling with the Greek asylum services; making a living on the streets; and strolling through the center of Athens. This is his story.
Two months after the fire that destroyed Moria camp, the overcrowded refugee facility on the island of Lesvos, an asylum seeker who lived there, remembers the events of that night and what happened in the days that followed.
A logbook was found in the ashes of Europe’s most notorious refugee camp. Written by the workers that were there to protect the unaccompanied minors, but often felt incapable of doing so, its pages reveal the horrific reality that they endured. The logbook of Moria’s safe zone is an indisputable document of Europe’s failure to protect the most vulnerable group of asylum seekers that sought safety within its borders.
Marios and Mirela came to Greece 24 years ago, and their children were born here. They cultivate garlic − a local product which has helped the region of Platykampos, Larissa, gain international attention. But they are still waiting for Greek citizenship.
Theoretically, “24-hour care and emergency protection” is provided to the unaccompanied minors in the safe zones of the refugee camps. But the cases that Solomon brings to light show that reality is often far from what is expected in theory.
A short rain in Lesbos turned everything into mud in some parts of the “Moria 2.0”, the new camp in Lesbos, for one more time. What will winter look like for its thousands of residents?