Is­lands see surge in ar­rivals of refugees

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The num­ber of refugees ar­riv­ing on Greek is­lands has risen from 4,500 a day in late Septem­ber to 7,000 over the past week, the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM) said yesterday, as a tod­dler was found dead off the coast of Lesvos in the eastern Aegean.

Speak­ing ahead of a visit to Lesvos to­day and a meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsir­pas in Athens later in the week, UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees An­to­nio Guter­res said asy­lum seek­ers ap­peared to be mak­ing a move be­fore weather con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rate.

“All of a sud­den, with the kind of weather that you have in the Balkans, this can be a tragedy at any mo­ment,” Guter­res said.

The IOM data came as a baby died af­ter the mo­tor of the rub­ber dinghy car­ry­ing him and another 56 peo­ple broke down off Lev­sos, the coast guard said yesterday. The 1-year-old boy, whose na­tion­al­ity was not re­ported, was found un­con­scious and taken to a hos­pi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead.

Also yesterday, sources said that a po­lice of­fi­cer who was pho­tographed kick­ing a refugee in a tem­po­rary re­cep­tion cen­ter on Lesvos had been iden­ti­fied. He is ex­pected to be sum­moned to ex­plain him­self fol­low­ing an ur­gent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

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