Concerns mounted about simmering tensions in migrant reception facilities across Greece on Thursday as more refugees arrived on islands in the Aegean from Turkey and an Egyptian man was killed in a brawl in a center on Chios.
On Thursday another 72 migrants traveled by boat from Turkey to Samos, which also has a large migrant population.
Another six migrants arrived on Chios, where the center is already holding more than double its capacity.
A total of 2,580 migrants are living in the camp on the island compared to the 1,100 it was designed to accommodate.
A 32-year-old Egyptian migrant died in hospital on Thursday following a fight at the Chios center with a fellow Egyptian who is accused of stabbing the former in the throat.
The alleged attacker was arrested and police reinforcements moved to the area to prevent a new escalation of tensions.
Many of the migrants at the center have been waiting for months for their asylum applications to be processed or are in line for deportation.
Questioned about the conditions at migrant reception facilities, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas attributed the tensions to the variety of ethnic groups living in close proximity with uncertain prospects.
“There are lots of different people, their money is running out and they feel trapped,” he said.
The minister said that by July the government will have created space to host 500 unaccompanied minors who have reached Greece on smuggling boats from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.
According to government statistics made public on Thursday, a total of 56,975 migrants are currently living in Greece in either state-run or makeshift camps.
Of these, 8,556 are in camps on the islands of the eastern Aegean and 14,860 are in Attica, including 3,600 at the site of the old Athens airport in Elliniko and 1,300 in a makeshift camp in Piraeus.
As a European Union program to relocate migrants moves at a snail’s pace, European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Thursday that Brussels is ready to impose sanctions on member-states refusing to accept refugees.
In comments at a business conference in Lagonissi, south of Athens, Avramopoulos condemned “populist and nationalist leaders” in European countries who have said they will not abide by the program.