Refugees were evacuated to camps like this one, in Larisa, Greece. It is located on a fenced gravel lot dotted with tents, off the side of a divided highway lined by fields the color of sand, over three-hours drive from Athens in one of the hottest, driest parts of the country. More than 800 Afghans and Syrians were deposited here, in the middle of nowhere, by government busses, with no information on why or for how long. Image by Frederick Atax. Greece, 2016.
When journalist Sonia Shah visited in June, it was unclear how the residents of this camp could apply for asylum. Some people had mobile phones that had miraculously survived arduous journeys over mountains and seas. If they could spend a few hours guarding their phones at the charging station pictured above, catch a wi-fi signal in the thin sliver of shade that surrounded the camp’s army post, and decipher the bureaucratic process, they thought they might be able to arrange to apply. If they could not, they would have to wait for someone from UNHCR to visit the camp and explain the procedure. In June 2016, many had been waiting for four months or more and had yet to see anyone from the UN agency. Image by Frederick Atax. Greece, 2016.
Muhammad is a journalist who fled Kabul with his wife and children. He and his family had been living in a tent in this camp for months when journalist Sonia Shah met him. “I can’t name one person here who isn’t losing their mind,” he said. Image by Frederick Atax. Greece, 2016.
The interior of a tent at a military-run camp in Larisa, Greece. Parents who lived here said they stayed up all night with sticks in their hands to beat snakes away from their children. Many people in the camp had suffered scorpion bites. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
These are drawings by 14-year-old Sayeed, taped to the bare walls of a container stationed at the camp. Sayeed was planning to study engineering when he fled Kabul to escape recruitment by the Taliban. His drawing depicts a boat in the water surrounded by drowning people and sharks, a portrayal of his crossing over the Mediterranean. Over a dozen of the residents of this camp are unaccompanied minors like Sayeed. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
Cold water taps at the camp. Image by Frederick Atax. Greece, 2016.
Refugees at this camp must relieve themselves in chemical toilets shared with dozens of others. Those that choose not to use the gravel slope just beyond the tents instead. Wastewater from the showers, encased in the same plastic pods as the toilets, seeps out from under the plastic doors and collects in giant puddles where mosquitoes breed. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
Some of the residents held make-shift educational sessions for children living in the camp. The only book they had is an Arabic-German language textbook, which was ferried over mountains and seas from Afghanistan by one of the camp residents. Image by Frederick Atax. Greece, 2016.
These are the medicines that were stocked at the camp, paid for by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection agency (ECHO). In a single month in the summer of 2016, the doctors at the camp in Larisa, Greece had diagnosed residents with methadone withdrawal, psychosis, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, epileptic fits, kidney stones, and thyroid disease. There was no medicine at the camp to treat any of these conditions. The clinicians at the camp, who are from an international NGO and are not licensed in Greece, could not prescribe them. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
The official entrance to the Elliniko refugee camp in Athens, in which thousands of displaced people are warehoused in a former airport arrivals buildiing and an abandoned hockey stadium and baseball stadium, built for the 2004 Olympics. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
The UNHCR-provided tents for the refugees at Elliniko were set up on the pitch of the former Olympic baseball stadium. Many refugees abandoned them because they were under the full glare of the sun and distant from food, toilets, and water. They set up their tents and blankets in the hallways, former offices and meeting rooms lining the stadium, turning the facility into a giant shantytown. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
About 50 people including families with children lived in this room, in a mix of tents and make-shift enclosures made with sheets and blankets. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
Most of the families had lived in this room for months. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
Thanks to the difficulty in accessing sanitary food and water, and their crowded conditions, people trapped here suffer outbreaks of scabies and dysentery. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
An abandoned building on the grounds of Sotiria Hospital in Athens. Beleaguered hospitals like this one and others in Greece must now serve the tens of thousands of undocumented Syrians, Afghans and others fleeing bombs and beheadings who are stuck in camps around Greece. Thirty percent of the patients in the camps require referrals to hospitals, the medical NGO Doctors of the World says. Image by Sonia Shah. Greece, 2016.
With the closing of borders across Europe, more than 50,000 people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere are being held in military-run camps across Greece. Access to health care is limited, in part due to the economic crisis in Greece which has slashed the country's health budget by half.