Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase

  • Wednesday 23, October 2019 06:53 AM
  • Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase
Sharjah24 – Reuters: Greece moved hundreds of asylum-seekers to the mainland on Tuesday (October 22) to alleviate islands struggling with overcrowded migrant camps and after sea arrivals increased in recent months.
Some 697 migrants and refugees arrived at Elefsina port near Athens from Samos island, officials said. Earlier, 120 people arrived from Lesbos island. The migrants are to be settled in camps and other accommodation on the mainland.

The Samos migrants camp, built for about 650 people, now houses more than 5,700, government figures show. Last week a fire in the camp sent people fleeing and destroyed tents and containers. On Monday local Samos residents staged a demonstration on the island. Weeks earlier one woman died in another fire in the camp on Lesbos.

The transfers are part of a stricter migration policy announced by the government which will also include plans to deport 10,000 people who do not qualify for asylum by the end of 2020.

Some 33,700 refugees and migrants are in camps operating above capacity on the islands, according to U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.