Migrants at Piraeus to be moved to Peloponnese
The evacuation of some 4,000 migrants from a makeshift settlement at the site of the old Athens international airport at Elliniko is being postponed until after the end of July as an alternative venue has yet to be found. The current priority, government sources say, is to move out of Piraeus some 1,500 migrants, most of whom are in legal limbo as their residence permits have expired.
The migrants currently living in camps in Piraeus are likely to be moved to one of several venues being prepared by authorities in the Peloponnese. Regional Governor Petros Tatoulis has been in talks with officials at the Defense Ministry to make available disused military facilities in the region.
Meanwhile, efforts to register thousands of migrants in camps across the country are continuing, with some 20,000 migrants registered in Athens and Thessaloniki by late yesterday. According to a breakdown of the data, more than 45 percent of migrants registered are children aged under 17.
Arrivals of migrants from neighboring Turkey have plummeted following the signing of an agreement between the European Union and Ankara in March to crack down on human smuggling across the Aegean. According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), 67,415 migrants arrived in Greece from Turkey in January, 57,066 in February, dropping to 26,971 in March, then plunging to 3,650 in April, 1,721 in May and 1,488 in June. The downward trend appears to be continuing, with only 40 migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey in the first few days of July.
Last year, arrivals in the summer were much larger with 31,318 arriving in June, 54,899 arriving in July, before a record 211,663 reached Greek shores in October.
The eastern Aegean island of Lesvos has been the hardest hit by the migrant influx. According to figures from the island’s airport in Mytilene, there were 4,825 charter flights in June, compared to 15,026 charter flights in the same month last year, a drop of 68 percent.
Store owners on the island say they have seen their turnover plunge by 70 percent over the past year.