Elliniko, Greece – Wet clothes were draped from the chain-link fence spanning the perimeter of the dilapidated airport hangar now being used to house hundreds of refugees and migrants, mostly Afghans, on an April afternoon.
A pair of young boys hit a volleyball back and forth in the rubbish-ridden car park, playing a seemingly endless game with neither a score nor a net.
Most of Elliniko’s residents live in tents inside the domestic arrivals terminal, or in a pair of deserted Olympic sports stadiums behind the out-of-business airport on the outskirts of the Greek capital, Athens.
Lucy Carrigan, the regional coordinator of communications at the International Rescue Committee, says that the lack of “ownership” refugees and migrants feel over their lives has contributed to increasing anger and frustration in the camps.
“It doesn’t matter what you did before you fled war – you may have been a hat maker, a doctor, a lawyer, a gynaecologist or a college professor – in Greece it feels like all you are is a number,” she told Al Jazeera.
“The process is dehumanising,” Carrigan added. “These people came to Europe full of hope. They had high expectations. Now they are floundering.”
Greece’s Ministry of Migration refused to comment on conditions in camps and other state-run accommodation for more than 62,000 refugees and migrants across the country.