Asylum seekers on the islands of Lesvos and Chios cannot move as planned into planned new refugee camps by winter.

About 2,550 people will continue to live there in tents and containers. Construction of the new accommodations has not even begun, reveals an answer by the EU Commission to questions put by the German news agency dpa.

On Saturday 27 November new reception camps were to open on Kos and Leros islands. The centre on Samos started operating in September.

In the approaching winter the situation is especially difficult on Lesvos, where 2,200 migrants continue to live in the temporary camp Kara Tepe  (Mavrovouni) That camp was hastily erected just over a year ago after a huge fire almost totally destroyed the notorious Lesbos reception camp Moria. Although in spring this year migration minister Notis Mitarakis announced that a new camp would be erected by winter, this camp as well as one planned for Chios exist only on paper.

“The tendering process for the facilities on Lesvos and Chios are still running,” reports the EU Commission. It says there is still a legal dispute going on with the local government of Chios municipality on the island of the same name. Legal disputes are also still pending on Lesvos. Before building can begin the Highest Greek administrative court has to rule.

The EU Commission emphasised that it would ensure in cooperation with the authorities that all needs of the people in the interim camp would be met.

“The exchange of all tents with containers and accommodation units is ongoing and is likely to be completed soon.”

Aid organisations regularly allege that the interim camp on Lesbos is even worse than Moria was. Athens denies this and points out that last year 20,000 people lived there under harsh conditions whereas the present camp, with a capacity of 8,000 people holds only 2,200. The explanation for that is that the government brought many children, pregnant women and sick people to the mainland.