The cemeteries on Lesbos are full. But refugee families still need to bury their dead.

Nov. 3, 2015                                                                        PRI's The World

There’s no more room to bury the dead. Sypros Galinos, mayor of the Greek island of Lesbos, announced the main cemetery's area reserved for refugees who have drowned at sea is full. 

Efi Latoudi at the cemetery for refuges in Mytilene, Lesbos. PHOTO BY JODI HILTON

The situation symbolizes the despair this island feels at being at the epicenter of Europe's migration crisis — and having dead bodies washing up on its shores. Fifty-five more bodies sit in the morgue.

Ilias Maravas, a reporter for Greek ERT TV here, was the first to find two dead children on the beach two days after a trawler heaped with migrants sunk in high seas between Lesbos and Turkey last week. Two hundred and forty two people were rescued; 43 are confirmed dead with an unknown number still missing.  Pointing to his computer, Maravas said: “This is full of 10 months of pictures of dead people. I don’t ever want to see this again.”

Maravas told me that locals are deeply disturbed by corpses in the sea. “For us, the ocean gives us strength.  We fish in it, swim.  The sea is our home.  It should bring life, not death.”



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