NEWS

Migrant flow to Greek islands ebbs but camps full

TAGS: Migration

There were no migrant and refugee landings on the shores of Lesvos for a fourth straight day Tuesday. Also no arrivals were reported on the islands of Chios and Samos between Monday and Tuesday morning.

A total of 8,190 people are being hosted at the so-called hot spots on the three islands, with more than half of those staying on Lesvos.

Another 10,000 migrants and refugees are living in a makeshift camp near the border village of Idomeni in northern Greece, with thousands more in state-run venues in Attica and other parts of Greece.

The atmosphere in the Idomeni camp has been calm over the past few days despite rumors that Greek authorities have been poised to evacuate the settlement and transfer the migrants to state-run reception centers and hotels across the country.

Even though a campaign has been launched by authorities to inform camp residents at Idomeni that the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is not set to open, they refuse to leave, ignoring the leaflets distributed by state officials urging them to agree to enter state-run facilities.

Meanwhile a railway line connecting Greece and FYROM remains inactive as migrants continue to camp on the tracks. An attempt by Greek authorities to open the railway track last month was short-lived as migrants returned their tents to the track a few hours after the evacuation. The losses incurred by railway operator Trainose as a result of the ongoing blocking of the railway tracks, which began on March 18, have yet to be determined. But the operator, which is slated for privatization, has been losing work at a fast rate, with hundreds of cargo transfers being canceled every week.

Greek authorities hope that the implementation of a European Union agreement with Turkey that was struck in March will lead to a reduction in the number of irregular migrants and refugees in Greece, which currently stands at 54,042.

The EU deal foresees Turkey taking back all migrants arriving in Greece as long as European authorities resettle one Syrian refugee for every migrant sent back to Turkey.

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