Work un­der way at plot for park refugees

Site be­ing con­nected to power and wa­ter net­works ahead of mi­grants’ trans­fer

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

State and mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees yesterday started pre­par­ing a site in Elaionas, western Athens, for the planned re­lo­ca­tion of some 500 Afghan and Syr­ian refugees who have been liv­ing in a makeshift camp in Pe­dion tou Areos park in cen­tral Athens.

The 4-hectare plot, which be­longs to City Hall, had been set aside for the con­struc­tion of a soc­cer stadi- um. A City Hall spokesper­son con­ceded that the refugees can­not re­main at Pe­dion tou Areos. “Lo­cal res­i­dents will re­act, and san­i­ta­tion is in­ad­e­quate,” the of­fi­cial said.

A town plan­ning per­mit has been is­sued to al­low an elec­tric­ity py­lon to be erected on the site and a team from the Athens Wa­ter Sup­ply & Sewage Com­pany (EYDAP) was at work there yesterday. State Min- is­ter Alekos Flam­bouraris, a close aide to Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, is over­see­ing the pro­ject and is said to have pushed for swift ac­tion.

The aim, ac­cord­ing to sources, is to set up pre­fab­ri­cated hous­ing units to ac­com­mo­date up to 500 peo­ple, the ap­prox­i­mate num­ber of refugees at Pe­dion tou Areos. Of the 500 peo­ple liv­ing in the park, around a third are chil­dren.

Most of those camp­ing at the site are not there to stay. Fam­i­lies leave and new ones ar­rive ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to mem­bers of refugee sup­port groups. A hand­ful have ap­plied for asy­lum but the ma­jor­ity move on as soon as they have ar­ranged the next leg of their jour­ney, a mi­grant help­ing out at the park said.

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