Reuters - Video

Edition: US | UK | IN | CN | JP

video Eurozone

Greece's cemetery for unknown migrant dead

Monday, February 15, 2016 - 01:49

Nestled in an olive grove on the Greek island of Lesbos, a cemetery with unmarked graves is the final resting place for over 200 unknown migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe’s shores. Mana Rabiee reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

The marble plaques in this makeshift cemetery on the Greek island of Lesbos mark the graves of unknown refugees and migrants. Many of the those buried here were from the Middle East -- all of them drowned in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe's shores. Their headstones bear no names … mute reminders of the human toll of the migrant crisis. Mustafa Dawa came to Greece from Egypt nearly a decade ago. He's taken on the unofficial role of washing, shrouding and burying Lesbos' unknown dead. (SOUNBITE)(Greek) MUSTAFA DAWA, AGED 30, SAYING: "I can't stop the war there and I can't make them cross (to Europe) legally. Since I can do nothing about that, I'm doing the only thing that's left for me to do is bury them." Locals say entire families are buried here. Who they were is anyone's guess. Their ages on the headstones are approximate… their date of death, not always accurate. "Unknown Man, Aged 35, No 221" -- " Unknown Boy, Aged 7, No 40". The local coroner keeps an archive of DNA samples... just in case relatives come forward. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) CARETAKER, ALEKOS KARAGIORGIS, SAYING: "I hope they trace them through DNA so that these people can rest. So that their souls can finally rest in peace. So that the mother or father searching for this person can also find peace." Migration experts say over 3,700 people drowned or went missing crossing the Mediterranean in just 2015 - and the actual number is thought to be higher. Here, nestled in an olive grove, over 200 of those victims are laid to rest -- their identities unclear, but their memory not forgotten.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Greece's cemetery for unknown migrant dead

Monday, February 15, 2016 - 01:49