The problem with refugee camps in Greece – How the Greek policy on migration is changing

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Greece

Organisation: OBC Transeuropa for European Data Journalism Network

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 27/12/2019

Credit: Eleni Stamatoukou

Project description:

Greece has a new center-right government since summer 2019. Its approach to migration differs sharply from its predecessor’s, as more controls and constraints are imposed on asylum seekers. OBC Transeuropa collected and analyzed data on the refugees and migrants who reside at refugee camps and detained centers in Greece. The data-driven investigation is divided into two parts. 

Impact reached:

The impact of the project is that because it was translated in many differenct languages (English, Greek, Italian and German) many people were informed about the refugee camps and the detained centers in Greece. Besides that, the Greek government has decided to re-open the recently closed Ministry of Migration. Till then the Ministry of Protection was responsible for the migrants and refugees. One more thing is that the research was used by many human rights organizations for advocacy and lobbying. 

Techniques/technologies used:

I used python, pandas, javascript and html and illustrator in order to create the datasets, to clean and analyze them and then visualize the data. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

I have created the datasets from scratch and I had to verify the data that I have found. Besides that I have done the production of the research and the data analysis and visualization by myself, which is a difficult task but I feel very satisfied because I have worked on a story that was under-reported. The popular narrative is mostly focused on the refugee flows but nobody writes about the people who reside at the camps. The majority of the refugee camps in Greece are located in old factories or old military spaces many kilometers away from the city centers, while others are quite close to populated areas like towns and small villages. We calculated the kilometers and hours that it take to travel between each of Greece’s refugee camps and the cities, the towns or villages nearby them, focusing in particular on the distance between the camps and the closest city with a hospital. Furthermore, we created a dataset on the detained centers and its capacities. The main goal was to show how the Greek migration policy has changed and how EU Commission promotes and supports this strategy. Data can contribute to migration reporting and on defending human rights, however we need each time to verify the data that we use. 

What can others learn from this project?

How is to live at a refugee camp and at a detention center in Greece

The problem of the distance between the refugee camps and the urban fabric.

How the Greek policy on migration is changing and how EU promotes and supports politically and financially this new direction.

The refugee crisis has not ended it’s still ongoing. 


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