In­creased in­flux of mi­grants fu­els worry on is­lands

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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