Pope Francis visits migrants on Greek island of Lesbos
DW, 05 Dec 2021
Pope Francis has called Europe's neglect of refugees the "shipwreck of civilization," urging governments to do more to protect them.
The Pope is visiting migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, where more than 2,000 people are living in a camp for asylum seekers. He has repeatedly highlighted the plight of refugees throughout his papacy.
The island of Lesbos is a haven of tranquility with a rich culture and a long history.
In 2015 the island became a migration hotspot for thousands hoping for a better life in Europe.
The following year, tourism was down 80 percent. Many firms went out of business. To take pressure off the islands, the government transferred thousands of people to the mainland.
Today just over 2,000 people live in the Mavrovouni camp, a fraction of the numbers that crowded the island's previous accommodation facility just two years ago.
Despite decreasing numbers, life here remains very difficult. Since the beginning of the pandemic, residents have only been allowed to leave the camp once or twice a week.
Camps like the one that recently opened on the island of Samos are part of the government's new strategy: Improving living conditions, while at the same time keeping residents behind fences and barbed wire.
The same strategy is planned for Lesbos. Many islanders are still against the planned camp. For everyone on the island, the dream of a better future remains strong.
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