Lesbos is a project I carried out in 2020, during two trips to the island in February and October. My goal was to document the situation of refugees in the Moria camp, established in 2015 to accommodate those arriving in Greece from Turkey through the Aegean Sea.
Over the years, the camp became the largest refugee camp in Europe, housing up to 20,000 people, although it was designed for only 3,000. The living conditions were inhumane, with overcrowding, a shortage of clean water, inadequate sanitation and medical assistance, insecurity, and violence. In 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières described it as the worst camp on Earth, while Human Rights Watch referred to it as an open-air prison.
In September 2020, a fire destroyed a large part of the camp, leaving 13,000 people without proper shelter and leading to its permanent closure. The person or group responsible has not been identified yet, but Greek authorities suggested that the fire may have been deliberately set by camp residents in response to the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
After the fire, many humanitarian organizations and governments called for a lasting solution to the refugee crisis in Europe and an improvement in reception conditions for refugees. However, a temporary camp called Mavrovouni was set up where the situation remained unchanged.
My work is divided into two parts. The first, taken in February at the Moria camp, aimed to portray the daily life of the camp residents. I wanted to show how these people lived each day without knowing when they would be able to leave. I met young people who had lived in those conditions for 2-3 years, consumed by waiting, lack of expectations, and the absence of a future to think about. Many of the photographs aim to represent their attempts to escape from that situation, even if just for a moment, through hobbies or sports.
The second part of the work shows the new Mavrovouni camp, where the situation remained almost identical. I wanted to document the continuity of the refugee crisis in Europe and the urgent need to find a lasting solution to this situation.