Lesbos refugee camp, 5 years after the Pope’s visit

“Father, please bless me.”

These images are 5 years old.

It was Francisco’s visit to the Moria refugee camp in April 2016, a place that four years later was engulfed by fire. 

There then 20,000 people lived crowded together.

It was a one-day trip, which Francis concluded with a symbolic and striking image: he took several refugee families with him to Rome. Here, institutions like the Community of San Egidio helped them to integrate. 

Francisco could see that they did a good job.

And it is that almost a year later one of them was found in a university in Rome. There he studied biology.

“I am from Syria. I escaped from there a year ago with my husband and my son ”.

However, the situation in Lesbos has not improved in these 5 years. 

After the terrible fire in the great Moria camp, the refugees were distributed into several smaller camps. Institutions like Doctors Without Borders help them there.

Doctors Without Borders
“There are about 9,000 refugees living in tents, in a place on the coast, exposed to the wind and the elements. In winter there were incidents such as shops that caught fire because people are desperate and do not know how to warm themselves.

Alessandra Saibene recalls that more landings are expected in spring and summer. He also explains that the biggest medical problem that refugees must attend to is the psychological one. Especially in children.  

Doctors Without Borders
“They develop a total apathy before any type of stimulus that surrounds them. They are passive, they refuse to do anything, they have lost their ability to interact, to relate. That is why the work that our psychologists must do is very great because it is very hard ”.

In addition, it does not seem that the situation will improve in the short term. Europe continues to try to stop the arrival of refugees with agreements with countries like Turkey. On the other hand, the continuing instability in Syria continues to provoke new waves of refugees.

From the Vatican, Pope Francis, maintains the same policy as 5 years ago. Receive migrants and refugees because they have had to escape, and promote their integration so that they contribute to the future of their new countries.



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