Refugees in Chios: This is the shame of the VIAL hotspot «expansion»

Tents without electricity, huts, overcrowding, sick and abandoned people: Chios Solidarity publicizes audiovisual material describing the inhumane living conditions in the outdoor campsite-store of people outside the hotspot of the saturated VIAL and calls for immediate action.

Via Chios Solidarity

There are no words to describe the situation in the open-air, extemporaneously made camp, which has been recently set up outside the hotspot of VIAL in Halkios, a village of Chios island in Greece.

More than twenty UNHCR tents have been put in a nearby field that will turn into mudflat with the first rain. Hundreds of people are forced to live without any provision for anything and without help: many children, pregnant women, and many people facing various health problems. There is no electricity, from 7 in the afternoon and on everything sinks in the dark. All tents are full, 9 to 12 people in each. Five people have built a shack of rows and grey blankets on an olive tree.

Waste water from the chemical toilets, which are no longer functioning, flows next to the tents. There are toilets only in the area of ​​the hotspot, high above the hill.

This is the «entrance» to VIAL hotspot «expansion». The chemical toilets shown are out of service. Dirty waters run freely everywhere towards the tents. The smell is repelsive. No one can pass through without getting dirty by steppin in the mud
Και οι 20 σκηνές είναι γεμάτες ανθρώπους. Από τις 7 το απόγευμα βυθίζονται στο σκοτάδι, αφού δεν υπάρχει ρεύμα. Δεν υπάρχει ακόμα νερό, τουαλέτες σε κοντινή απόσταση, κάδοι απορριμμάτων, καμιά υποδομή για να ζήσουν άνθρωποι.
All 20 tents are full of people. There is no electricity, so after 7 o’clock in the afternoon evething sinks in the darks. There is now running water yet, no trash bins, no facilities for a place where people are supposed to live.

Next to the tents, since there are not even bins, a stream is used as a dump and as an outdoor toilet. No one is «responsible», the relevant ministries have not sent anyone since they are assumed to be in charge of the management, NGOs have been forced to leave.

Sacks and big tents with 150 people

 And that’s not all. A little further, there is an empty area and there is a «rubhall», a large tent like the one of Souda that was recently dissolved with “drumbeats” by the municipality of Chios.

One hundred and fifty, yes, 150 people are staying here, in incredible crowded conditions. Three rows of double beds in this huge tent, which since the afternoon also sinks in the dark.

«You can not live here, you can not sleep, children cry all night because there is terrible darkness. Mice and snakes pass through the tents, two people were bitten from scorpions», a Syrian war refugee A. says, who has been staying for a few days in the «rubhall».

Outside the big tent, three more huts, with the same materials: raw reeds and grey blankets of the United Nations. In the evening, the temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius. And the winter is coming.

Inside VIAL: Families and disabled people are sleeping on the cement

Inside the fenced area of ​​Vial hotspot, at least 15 people, half of them children, sleep outdoors leaning towards the outside wall of the main building. At the bottom of the central corridor, 3 families sleep on the cement, next to the wire and a rushed screen of wood and blankets.

Next to them, 7 to 10 people sleep between the fence and a container. Among them, M., a victim of the war in Syria: disabled, in the stroller, his left hand missing, with a tube for urination. Helpless.

The entire Vial is suffocating. It is a warehouse of people – a shame for the island, for Greece, for Europe.

We ask from every person in charge to stop this shame now.

The government must liberate refugees from Chios and close down this shameful place called Vial. The ministries in charge must immediately provide medical assistance and comprehensive legal support to the people who have been «stored» in Vial, inside and outside the miserable camp, so that no human eye can see them.

The municipality of Chios must intervene now, because there is an emergency here. Instead of celebrating the closure of Souda, being Pontius Pilate because the government is ignoring it, it must activate every possible aid mechanism but also exert all possible pressure for the entrapment of the war and poverty refugees from the island.

The management of Vial, UNHCR, and every competent body must take measures now to make the conditions in Vial human, as long as it exists, otherwise the winter will cost human lives.

The island’s media have to investigate what is happening in the hotspot and to expose them to public opinion, rather than just reproducing the police reports. It’s part of their mission.

And we repeat:

The EU-Turkey Deal is an inhuman invention, emerging from the «Fortress Europe» approach. It’s this deal that creates the entrapment of so many people and shameful places like Vial, against any concept of human dignity and respect for basic human rights. It must be cancelled now. Migration is not a problem; it is a phenomenon that is not addressed by repressive measures and confinement of people in prison islands.

We call the European governments to cancel the ΕU-Turkey deal. We call on them to abandon the inhuman «Fortress Europe» approach, and create legal passage for the refugees of war and poverty.

We call on medical practitioners, municipal factions, anyone who still feels that he has to resist barbarism, to see the situation in Vial himself and to make public what he has seen. Silence is complicity.

More data, material and information at

Solidarity of Chios

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[1] Vial is the registration centre of refugees in Chios, a hotspot which consists of a main building and two areas with containers, 8.5 km from the city centre. It is overcrowded.

[2] Souda is an open refugee camp in the city centre that will close down within the month.