A fresh bout of unrest broke out at one of the reception centers for migrants on the Aegean island of Chios on Friday after heavy rain led to widespread flooding that soaked the tents of many refugee families.
The worsening of the already substandard living conditions for migrants set off a new round of tense scuffles between migrants of different ethnic backgrounds, who are frustrated at delays in the processing of their asylum applications.
Greek government officials have appealed to the European Commission for more asylum experts to accelerate the process on the islands but the additional staff is yet to arrive.
In an interview with German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, Greece’s Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas expressed concern about the country’s ability to cope with the refugee crisis, warning that “Greece’s Aegean islands will gradually turn into the Ellis Island of the EU,” referring to the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The influx of migrants into Greece from Turkey is nowhere close to the levels seen a year ago but hundreds are arriving every week. A total of 156 landed on the islands of the eastern Aegean between Thursday and Friday morning.
In a related development, parents of children attending a primary school in Thermopyles, central Greece, decided on Friday to occupy the school grounds on Monday in protest at plans to have 90 refugee children start afternoon classes on that day.