Lesvos feeling refugee strain again
Spike in influx from Turkey means overcrowding, long queues at centers on island
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.