Packed together in tight rows, hundreds of colorful tents line the West Terminal of Ellinikon Airport in Athens. The facility, decommissioned 15 years ago, is now being used to house refugees. More than 4,100 people meanwhile call the West Terminal and its annexes home.
A visit to the refugee center finds some migrants dozing in the colorful tents and others stretched out on the concrete floor on blankets.
Merwe, 19, from Afghanistan, is in front of a tent with her mother. Her cousin is camped out next to them with his two daughters. “We’ve been here for two months now,” Merwe said.
Her family paid smugglers $10,000 to take them through Iran, Turkey and then by boat to a Greek island whose name Merwe has forgotten.
“We lived for two weeks on the island in a guest house until we used up the last of our money,” she said, noting that Ellinikon has become her family’s end station.