Man dies on Rhodes from makeshift heater, 2 hospitalized; another fatality at Moria site

9 January 2019
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One fatality was reported on the well-known holiday island of Rhodes early Tuesday morning, reportedly due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a makeshift portable heater (brazier). Another two people were hospitalized.

Authorities said the foreign national – no nationality given – died from the fumes in an old residence located in the Aghios Anargyros district in the island’s capital of city, also called Rhodes. The house had no power and temperatures outside were near zero celsius on the Dodecanese island.

The issue of fatalities in low-income households using braziers to stay warm in the winter generated a major political firestorm in February 2013, when two college students in the central city Larissa died from the fumes of an open barbecue that was brought indoors to provide heat during a cold winter’s night. Another three students, in city for their studies, survived the incident after being in intensive care for weeks.

At the time, radical leftist SYRIZA party, which was the main opposition party before assuming power in January 2015, blamed austerity policies emanating from the bailout memorandums as dramatically increasing poverty in the country. The five students reportedly lacked money to use other forms of heating.

In a related development, a foreign national temporarily hosted at a notorious “hotspot” for third country asylum seekers on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos (Mytilene) died from hypothermia this week. The man, identified as a 24-year-old from Cameroon, was living in a tent at the Moria site.

Hundreds of third country nationals from the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Sahara Africa and as far away as Myanmar, continue to be ferried onto Greek islands in the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey by migrant trafficking networks operating in latter country.

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