Flu cases rife at mi­grant camps

Fears of more in­fec­tions at over­crowded hot spots as tem­per­a­tures to drop again

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Al­though large num­bers of refugees have been trans­ferred to re­cep­tion fa­cil­i­ties on the main­land from over­crowded camps in the Aegean in re­cent days, hun­dreds more re­main on the is­lands with a new cold snap ex­pected later this week.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, there has been an in­crease in cases of flu at over­flow­ing is­land camps where many mi­grants are forced to sleep in tents out­doors. Short­ages in medicines at the is­land fa­cil­i­ties com­pound the prob­lem.

Plans are afoot to over­haul the main mi­grant re­cep­tion cen­ter at Mo­ria on Lesvos, which was se­ri­ously dam­aged by fire and ri­ot­ing last year, and where over­crowd­ing is acute. Due to the lack of space, po­lice precincts are be­ing used to ac­com­mo­date mi­grants, but a spokesman for the lo­cal po­lice union said this was not a so­lu­tion. “The sit­u­a­tion in the cells has been suf­fo­cat­ing for months now,” Dim- itris Alex­iou told Kathimerini.

Mean­while, the Euro­pean Border and Coast Guard Agency, the suc­ces­sor to Fron­tex, is push­ing ahead for the cre­ation of a rapid re­sponse force to deal with crises at Euro­pean Union border ar­eas like the east­ern Aegean and south­ern Italy.

The new body will con­sist of 1,500 per­son­nel drawn from Euro­pean Union mem­ber-states.

Greece will take part with 50 peo­ple from the Greek Po­lice (ELAS) and port au­thor­i­ties.

ELAS, which has al­ready asked in­ter­ested par­ties to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tions by Jan­uary 8 at the lat­est, said each mem­ber-state is obliged to set up per­ma­nent rapid re­sponse teams which will be placed at the ser­vice of the Agency in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions within a pe­riod of five days. Can­di­dates will be se­lected ac­cord­ing to strict cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing knowl­edge of English and ex­cel­lent eval­u­a­tions from their su­pe­ri­ors.

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