A 51-year-old Iraqi national was found dead on Sunday night at the VIAL migrant and asylum seeker hosting facility on the Aegean island of Chios.
The man had been living there for the last one and a half years. Based on initial evidence, his death was due to ongoing health issues.
This was the second sudden death of a camp resident in one week, following that of a 28-year-old Somali man on Easter Monday.
The body of the Somali asylum seeker who died in his tent — also at VIAL — was discovered covered in mice, which were eating his flesh by the time he was discovered.
According to police sources, the 28-year-old man had died in his tent at the VIAL facility sometime during the night between Monday to Tuesday, May 4.
On Tuesday morning, security guards found his body covered with dozens of rodents that were eating his flesh.
The tragic incidents highlight the terrible living conditions for the hundreds of asylum seekers and migrants at VIAL.
In April, Greek Minister of Immigration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis announced that the population of the VIAL facility was less than 1,000, an enormous decrease from the height of the refugee crisis in Greece, when it reached 6,000.
Greece plans to create a new enclosed facility in the Tholos region of Chios. The new facility will be smaller, with a capacity of 1,500 people, and will provide security to both residents and migrants, the government says.
More migrants, asylum seekers leave Greece
More migrants are now leaving Greece than arriving, according to Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis, who announced recently that the influx of people to the Aegean Islands has decreased significantly over the past year.
Mitarakis made his remarks as part of an address last Wednesday during a conference with fellow migration policy leaders on the progress of negotiations with the EU on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum.
“In 2021 the flows of refugees and migrants to our islands have decreased by 89% compared to 2020,” Mitarakis told the attendees.
Only 925 people arrived on Lesvos and the other Greek Aegean Islands between January 1 and April 11 this year according to the latest UNHCR data. This is in striking contrast to the floods of migrants and asylum seekers who came to Greek shores every year since 2015, when the most recent migrant wave began.
A total of 7,591 people arrived during the same period in 2020 — the majority of all arrivals who came to Greece last year, after the pandemic put a stop to much of the traffic.
“The vast majority of asylum applications do not end up in an asylum examination,” Mitarakis explained, “because those who have submitted the application do not actually appear at their interviews. Many refugees decide to try and leave of their own accord for central and western Europe.”