Official data on migrants unreliable
Regular transfer of refugees on the mainland means actual figures are unclear
The official data with regard to the number of migrants at reception centers on mainland Greece have proven to be unreliable as they are significantly less than previously thought.
The discrepancies are mainly due to the regular transfers of migrants from camp to camp. A point in case is the camp at Malakasa, outside Athens. Official data yesterday put the number of migrants and refugees there at 483. But according to volunteers there are less than 200, as many have left due to the cold weather. Moreover, the official statistics regarding the number of migrants that are not at reception centers or camps and whose whereabouts are unknown change by the week.
On December 30, according to the official figures, there were 8,500 migrants and refugees in Attica who did not live at camps and centers. This number dropped to 7,200 on January 11, while yesterday it rose to 7,300. Meanwhile, according to the Asylum Service, Greece received 4,415 requests from EU countries to take back migrants as it was the first country of entry.
Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has faced widespread criticism for insisting that mi- grants cannot be moved from overcrowded camps on the Aegean islands to more spacious facilities on the Greek mainland as such a move could undermine a deal between Turkey and the EU. He is also seeking to negotiate a deal with local authorities on the islands for the creation of “closed” centers to accommodate migrants who have been linked to crime.