Refugees have died in freezing conditions over the winter – but women and girls face further danger too.

There are around 3,000 refugees living in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, who have fled conflict and persecution in search of safety in Europe. Refugees have spoken up about the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions inside the camp, but women and girls face further danger.

In such cramped conditions, women are at risk of gender-based violence and assault.

One 23-year-old Eritrean refugee, who did not want to be named, said she felt unsafe in the camp and had heard of women being attacked.

"I have been in Moria for seven months and it is dangerous for women," she told IBTimes UK. "Some men are drunk and they come into the women's tents. There is no security for women there, not even if someone gets sick.

"There are a lot of rapes outside the camp, and even inside the camp. Inside the camp there is nowhere to buy drink or drugs, but it is smuggled in from outside, so the men get drunk.

"But we don't have another choice, we can't leave – because there is nowhere to go."

Moria camp Greece Lesbos
The entrance to the Moria camp on Lesbos Lydia Smith

Accurate statistics on the numbers of women refugees who experience sexual violence are essentially non-existent because victims are afraid to come forward – so it is underreported.

A report by the Refugee Rights Data Project published in January found women refugees live in fear of violence, such as rape and abuse by other refugees and even authorities.

Researchers from the organisation spoke to more than 300 refugees and aid workers across nine camps and residences in 2016. Incidences of rape, forced prostitution, forced marriage and trafficking were all reported, with 46% of women saying they did not feel safe. Some 69% of women said they lived in a dwelling that did not have a secure lock.

One 24-year-old Congolese refugee said she had travelled to Lesbos alone on a ship and had been in the camp for just over a month. She said that, although she sleeps in an all-women tent, she still feels under threat.

"The toilets are not good, the food is not good and it is hard to sleep – I don't sleep well in the camp," she said. "When you are sleeping, sometimes men come inside your tent."

"I don't like living here. The conditions are bad," she added.

More than 173,000 refugees arrived in Greece in 2016, according to the UNHCR. Although temporary housing has been provided by the Greek government, thousands of people have been stranded by the EU-Turkey agreement and the conditions of many of the refugee camps are unacceptable.

Moria Greece refugees migrants camp Lesbos
A migrant in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in January 2017 Getty

Speaking to IBTimes UK, an anonymous NGO worker said the conditions in Moria were basic. "There is a toilet block with cold showers only, and the toilets block regularly," they said. "When it snowed last month a lot of the tents collapsed. The only shoes a lot of people had were Crocs, so I saw a lot of people with severe pain in their extremities due to the cold."

Three men are known to have died in the Moria camp in the last week, but a Syrian refugee living in the camp said there had been a fourth death.

"The first man who died was from Egypt then the second was from Syria," he said. "They found them in the tent because they were cold. The third one was from Pakistan. They carried him and his face was blue. Later, they brought another man. They took him inside."

Astrid Castelein, head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) office on Lesbos, said the camp had not been able to cope with the large number of refugees and migrants travelling to Lesbos, which had an impact on gender-based violence.

"Due to the situation, single women, families in Moria were sleeping in tents deprived of basic security and privacy," Castelein said. "Because we had so many refugees, the conditions were not up to standard which led to overcrowding and a lack of appropriate shelters."

Castelein said the UNHCR is working with other NGOs and agencies to prevent gender-based violence in the camps, which includes increasing the number of police patrolling the site. She added that better lighting had been installed in the camp, as well as gender-segregated toilets, showers and sleeping areas and safety awareness campaigns.