Gov’t plan­ning big­ger mi­grant cen­ter for Chios

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A cri­sis meet­ing chaired by State Min­is­ter Alekos Flam­bouraris yes­ter­day about the prob­lem of over­crowd­ing at the mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ter on Chios yielded a de­ci­sion to cre­ate a new fa­cil­ity on the eastern Aegean is­land de­spite ob­jec­tions by lo­cal res­i­dents.

The govern­ment’s pro­posal fore­sees the cre­ation of a new so-called hot spot on the site of a for­mer land­fill. The aim is for the re­cep­tion fa­cil­ity cur­rently op­er­at­ing in the area of Souda, close to the is­land’s main port, to be used as a regis­tra­tion point for mi­grants be­fore their trans­fer to the new ac­com­mo­da­tion cen­ter, which prom­ises to be more spa­cious. Cur­rently some 4,211 mi­grants are be­ing housed at the Souda fa­cil­ity, nearly four times its max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 1,100. The pres­sure on the cen­ter keeps build­ing as more mi­grants ar­rive from Turkey daily, some­times more than 100 per day.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est govern­ment fig­ures, a to­tal of 15,955 mi­grants are cur­rently be­ing ac­com­mo­dated at re­cep­tion fa­cil­i­ties on eastern Aegean is­lands. Of those, 6,124 are on Lesvos, 4,211 on Chios, 2,760 on Samos, 1,990 on Kos and 870 on Leros.

Mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Yian­nis Mouza­las re­cently ex­pressed con­cern about the reper­cus­sions on Greece if a deal be­tween Turkey and the Euro­pean Union to crack down on hu­man smug­gling in the Aegean founders.

New govern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los, in his first brief­ing to re­porters yes­ter­day, was asked whether there was a con­tin­gency plan to tackle such an even­tu­al­ity. He said it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of both the EU and Ankara to honor the deal, which was signed in March.

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