Increased influx of migrants fuels worry on islands
An increase in the influx of undocumented migrants landing on the islands of the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey is fueling concern in the ranks of the government as facilities are already extremely cramped.
In the first 10 days of this month, 1,205 migrants crossed the Aegean on smuggling boats, most of them landing on Lesvos, Samos and Chios.
The influx of migrants has been consistently high over the past few months with 2,249 arriving in July, 3,695 in August and 3,519 in September. More than 13,700 migrants are currently living in state-run facilities on the islands.
Local authorities on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros complain that the state-run facilities are already overcrowded and unable to take in more migrants.
Although government officials have insisted publicly that they are in control of the situation, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas chaired an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the problem, Kathimerini understands.
According to sources, Mouzalas asked for the process of identifying “vulnerable” migrants – children, pregnant women, the sick and the elderly – to be accelerated so that they can be moved to facilities on the mainland, freeing up space for new arrivals.