Kara Tepe Refugee Camp

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Kara Tepe is located about 2.5km to the northeast of Mytilene, the capital of the island of Lesbos[1]. The camp is managed by a special organization affiliated with the Municipality of Lesvos[1] and led by Stavrous Mirogiannis[2]. The purpose of the camp is to provide temporary housing for asylum seekers as they await their registration processes[3]. Kara Tepe is the overflow site for Moria Refugee Camp, the main registration center in Greece and Europes biggest refugee camp[4], known as a hotspot established by the Greek government through which new arrivals would be processed[5]. Initially, refugees were mandated to spend a minimum of 25 days in the Moria camp before being transferred to Kara Tepe[2], however due to the overcrowding of the island camps, transfer to Kara Tepe is on a needs basis. As of December 2017 there were 990 recorded refugees at the Kara Tepe camp *** This number is outdated.[6]

Kara Tepe's mandate is to accommodate families and vulnerable populations (unaccompanied minors, women, children). The majority of individuals living in the camp are of Syrian, Afghani or Iraqi origin[3]. According to a survey conducted in December 2016, asylum seekers spent an average of four months at the Kara Tepe camp[1] ***Outdated number. Asylum seekers living in Kara Tepe are able to leave and reenter the site daily. The services at the site are run, in large part, by several NGOs, among them: Movement on the Ground and ERCI. Médecins Sans Frontières has a clinic in Mytilini that serves patients from the Kara Tepe camp who are referred to them by outreach teams.[7]

While Kara Tepe has been lauded for its infrastructure and community-like atmosphere[2], the residents of Kara Tepe and the administration of the camp still face a great deal of challenges. Such challenges include: inadequate access to electricity, limited space and resources for food preparation, restrictions on employment and educational opportunities, lack of targeted mental health interventions for youth, and poor access to legal advice. In August 2017, Kara Tepe's accommodation capacity was expanded by 56% to make room for up to 1250 persons **This number is outdated, it has gone up.[8] UNHCR reported that 260 new accommodation units had been installed at the camp in 2017.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Asylum Seekers in lesvos, Greece, 2016-2017 (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  2. ^ a b c "Searching for Dignity and Work in Kara Tepe Refugee Camp". KENNEDY SCHOOL REVIEW. 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  3. ^ a b Krikigianni, Christina (2016). "What Are the Reasons that Refugee Children Seek Emergency Health Care in Lesbos Island, Greece: A Cross-sectional study; Primary Data Collection" (PDF). Uppsala University.
  4. ^ "Oxfam condemns EU over 'inhumane' Lesbos refugee camp". The Guardian. 2019-01-09.
  5. ^ Wain, John F. 2017. “Shelter for Refugees Arriving in Greece, 2015-17.” Forced Migration Review 55. Accessed October 29, 2017. http://www.fmreview.org/sites/fmr/files/FMRdownloads/en/shelter/wain.pdf.
  6. ^ Makris, A. "A Total of 1,650 Migrants and Refugees Depart from Lesvos for the Mainland | GreekReporter.com". Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  7. ^ "Greece: MSF activity update – December 2017 | Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International". Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  8. ^ "Brussels blames the 'competent' Greek authorities for Moria camp". New Europe. 2017-12-25. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  9. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "More speed needed to help refugees stranded in Greek islands". UNHCR. Retrieved 2018-01-03.