Lesvos feel­ing refugee strain again

Spike in in­flux from Turkey means over­crowd­ing, long queues at cen­ters on is­land

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Author­i­ties’ ca­pac­ity for pro­cess­ing refugees and mi­grants on Lesvos are be­ing stretched to break­ing point again due to a higher in­flux of peo­ple over the last few days.

A to­tal of around 43,000 mi­grants reached Greece’s east­ern Aegean is­lands, mainly Lesvos, over the past five days, the gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day. It is es­ti­mated that the num­ber of peo­ple stuck on Lesvos has risen above 11,000 again.

Author­i­ties on the is­land are wait­ing for the de­liv­ery of 12 more dig­i­tal fin­ger­print scan­ners that are com­pat­i­ble with the Euro­pean Union’s Euro­dac sys­tem, which ar­chives refugees’ fin­ger­prints.

As a re­sult of th­ese de­vel­op­ments, the re­cep­tion cen­ter at Mo­ria has be­come over­crowded. There are also queues on the is­land at the other cen­ter in Kara Tepe, where refugees are en­dur­ing long waits – some­times stretch­ing into days – to be reg­is­tered so they can then take a pas­sen­ger ferry to the main­land.

There are cur­rently at least two cross­ings a day to bring mi­grants from the east­ern Aegean is­lands. Yes­ter­day, three ships car­ry­ing about 6,000 peo­ple ar­rived at Pi­raeus.

The sit­u­a­tion on the is­lands was in com­plete con­trast to that at sites for mi­grants in Athens. There were just 20 peo­ple seek­ing shel­ter at the former Olympic Games com­plex in Elliniko, south­ern Athens, with much of the food and cloth­ing made avail­able for refugees not be­ing used.

Gov­ern­ment sources said that the site would re­main open to refugees un­til the end of Oc­to­ber.

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