‘Human catastrophe’: Syrians denied burial in Lesbos as Oldham charity plead for help

Up to 70 Syrian refugees are being refused burial on the Greek island of Lesbos, says a lawyer volunteering with an Oldham charity.

Yasin Din, currently in the island’s capital city Mytilene, has appealed on behalf of GreenGate Trust for help burying refugees who did not survive the perilous sea journey from Turkey to Greece.

In a video posted by Manchester-based Rethink Rebuild Society, Mr Din introduces Zahir, a Damascus-born refugee.

Who tragically lost his brother, his brother’s wife and their two young children as they sought asylum in Europe. 

“They went through the sea of death,” said Zahir, who safely arrived in Lesbos on October 28.

“I appeal to everyone to help us in burying our loved ones – the Syrians who asked for security, for life, for asylum.

“We don’t want anything except to bury them.”

With a population of just 80,000, Lesbos is seeing up to 7,000 migrants arrive from Turkey each day and is struggling to find space to bury those who do not make it.

“This is a human catastrophe that is taking place,” Mr Din told MM.

“For us just to do the basics is an indication of what humanity really is. You can’t sit there every day, watch this stuff on TV and not do anything.

“It is a very fluid situation at the moment. We are hoping we can make some headway, and if we can’t we will start seeking people from all over the world to pressurise the government.

Spyros Galinos, the mayor of Lesbos, claims there has been no support from the EU but told local radio that he will be looking into taking over a field next to the morgue to speed up the burial process.

Mr Din also told MM that meetings have taken place to secure land on the island.

For which he says volunteers would be willing to pay, but the process has been delayed as they await consent from the Greek authorities.

You can follow Mr Din’s updates on Twitter @YasinDin.

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