People & Power

The Shameful Camp

Investigating the shocking living conditions at a Greek island camp for refugees trying to get into Europe.

At its closest point, the Greek island of Samos lies barely two kilometres off the coast of Turkey, which has long made it a target destination for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe.

Those who make it across the Aegean Sea are housed in and around a camp close to the capital Vathy. Some have been there for years, waiting for their paperwork to be processed through the tortuously slow Greek bureaucracy.

Living conditions are atrocious. In the official camp, people sleep in dangerously overcrowded re-purposed shipping containers. But most are forced to set up tents or build a makeshift shelter in the unofficial “jungle”, which surrounds the original compound on an exposed hillside.

A new centre is under construction, on a mountaintop 10km away, and there is hope that conditions there might be better, but that is little consolation for those still living in squalor.

In late 2020, a team of filmmakers went to meet some of the people desperately hoping their ordeal will end.