Life in Katsikas refugee camp, Western Greece

Katsikas refugee camp, Western Greece
Photo story
January 10, 2017

Its inhabitants are mainly Syrians, with some who identify as Kurds. Arabic and Kurdish are the two major languages. Most people there also speak English, unlike in the camps around Thessaloniki, where many of the English speakers have left in the last few months. There are a large number of children in Katsikas camp who are proud to show off their abilities to speak English and Greek, as well as Kurdish and/or Arabic (many of the Arabic speaking children have learned Kurdish from the Kurdish children. The Kurds, in general, though not always, know both languages).

The camp is just outside Ioannina, the largest city in Western Greece.

Katsikas camp opened on 19 March 2016. Its inhabitants were either moved from Idomeni, or in some cases were taken by bus directly there after landing at Athens from the islands, after Idomeni closed. In many cases, the buses were diverted to Katsikas after setting off for Idomeni, because the camp closed so abruptly.

Its inhabitants are mainly Syrians, with some who identify as Kurds. Arabic and Kurdish are the two major languages. Most people there also speak English, unlike in the camps around Thessaloniki, where many of the English speakers have left in the last few months. There are a large number of children in Katsikas camp who are proud to show off their abilities to speak English and Greek, as well as Kurdish and/or Arabic (many of the Arabic speaking children have learned Kurdish from the Kurdish children. The Kurds, in general, though not always, know both languages).

Doctors of the World has a fixed clinic at Katsikas, and provide physical, mental and sexual-reproductive health care, along with services including emergency contact and translation for hospital visits. The action is funded by the European Commission.

Specific challenges faced at the camp include strong winds, which have blown tents away, and flooding.

The camp's original population was close to 800 people, where it remained to July. It has since reduced due to a variety of reasons, and a recent programme to move people to hotels for the winter has seen its population drop to 251 people.

Photo Credits Kristof Vadino

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