Gypsies in encampments in Chania are living in unacceptably unsanitary conditions, and the local authorities must ensure that they are provided with access to basic services such as water and electricity. This was the conclusion of a mission from the voluntary NGO “Medecins du Monde”, on a recent visit to five Gypsy camps in Tsikalaria, Nerokourou, Kladisos, Mournies and Georgioupoli in western Crete.
“I couldn’t imagine we would meet problems of this kind”, said Dr Minas Voulgaridis, a member of the Board of Governors of Medecins du Monde. Describing the conditions the doctors saw, Dr Voulgarakis noted that “four of the encampments have no electricity, Nerokourou being the only exception, with obvious consequences on the health of the inhabitants. Two camps, particularly that of Georgioupoli, have no water.
“We appeal to the Mayor of Georgioupoli to attend to the matter and deal with the problem. He is a doctor himself and I believe that he will show the due sensitivity. The conditions in which 25 children and 15 adults are living in Georgioupoli are unacceptable. They have no water, are isolated in the olive groves, in an area they have rented. They are doing their best to keep it sanitary, but it is very difficult. Now that the rains are starting, you can’t have 25 children sleeping huddled together in the back of a truck. The authorities must deal with their problems before the worst happens.
“We worked hard during our visit there. We vaccinated all the children, none of whom had health books. We gave them health books and will return on 16 December to continue the necessary vaccinations. We also saw many health problems in adults. The dental unit worked, even without electricity. We carried out a few emergency extractions and we hope that by our next visit our appeals will have been responded to and we will find a better situation.”