Karam, a refugee in temporary accommodation in Athens, explains the difficulties and discomforts they have experienced:
“Life in here is very very hard. Let me explain. For food you have to stand in line for 2 hours for breakfast which is at 9 AM and lunch which is at 3 PM. Dinner is at 9PM. And the only thing to eat is boiled potatoes in water without any oil or salt on it. They bring them dry. How can you eat this? It’s also very hot. And then life inside the tent … I’m sure has a temperature higher then 45 degrees Celsius and lots of kids who one day were poisoned with the food because we all had a stomach ache in here… It is very hard.”
Some refugees leave official reception centres in order to try to find improved - although extremely precarious - conditions in which to live. This mapping project aims to demonstrate the links between dire living conditions in official temporary accommodation and protests by their refugee residents. In this blogpost, Qusay Loubani argues that EU member states are using the wretched living conditions in these camps to deter other potential migrants: "Every refugee in Idomeni now believes that the Europeans are using us to scare other refugees away from Europe."
This extract is from an interview conducted during the summer of 2016 as part of the Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat project, which was led by Vicki Squire: www.warwick.ac.uk/crossingthemed. Fuller stories from which these excerpts are taken can be explored here: https://crossing-the-med-map.warwick.ac.uk/