Nearly 2,000 Migrants Will Be Moved Out of A Refugee Camp Where Children Are Reportedly Attempting Suicide

Around 2,000 migrants living in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos will be moved to mainland Greece by the end of the month, an official announced on Tuesday.

"The situation in Moria really is difficult. It really is borderline," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said, according to Reuters.

Two migrant boys make their way through a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees on the island of Lesbos, Greece, on September 17. Nearly 2,000 migrants will be transferred following criticism from human rights groups and local authorities. Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

The move comes as human rights groups continue to criticize the Greek government for the camp's deteriorating conditions, leading to an increase in self-harm and suicide attempts among children.

"In group mental health activities for children (aged between six and 18 years) between February and June this year, MSF teams observed that nearly a quarter of the children (18 out of 74) had self-harmed, attempted suicide or thought about committing suicide," Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a press release on Friday.

The medical charity called on Greece and the European Union to "immediately evacuate" the camp's inhabitants, where more than 9,000 people live in a facility that is meant to house 3,100.

Local authorities have also been critical of the camp's state, which reportedly has raw sewage running out of the main entrance. Christiana Kalogirou, a regional governor, threatened to shut the camp down within 30 days if authorities did not clean the waste.

Seven hundred people were moved from the camp to the mainland last week alone, along with 3,000 others throughout the summer, Tzanakopoulos said. The 2,000 people who will be moved by the end of the month will have their asylum claims examined when they arrive, the spokesman added.

The transfer may not be enough, as migrants continue to arrive on the island. Greece's Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas said that as 3,600 people had been removed from the camp in June, but they were replaced by 5,700.

"What the Greek government is trying to do is to reduce the time required for a decision to be issued granting or rejecting asylum … But there is always reality. We try to strike a balance between respecting human rights … and trying to decongest as far as possible the islands," Tzanakopoulos said, according to Al Jazeera, mentioning that the only way the issue could be solved is if other EU countries accept migrants.

"And for as long as the Visegrad countries [Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia] insist on their anti-European, anti-humanitarian and, in my opinion, illegal approach to European decisions, the problem will persist," Tzanakopoulos added.