A crisis meeting chaired by State Minister Alekos Flambouraris on Tuesday about the problem of overcrowding at the migrant reception center on Chios yielded a decision to create a new facility on the eastern Aegean island despite objections by local residents.
The government’s proposal foresees the creation of a new so-called hot spot on the site of a former landfill.
The aim is for the reception facility currently operating in the area of Souda, close to the island’s main port, to be used as a registration point for migrants before their transfer to the new accommodation center, which promises to be more spacious.
Currently some 4,211 migrants are being housed at the Souda facility, nearly four times its maximum capacity of 1,100. The pressure on the center keeps building as more migrants arrive from Turkey daily, sometimes more than 100 per day.
According to the latest government figures, a total of 15,955 migrants are currently being accommodated at reception facilities on eastern Aegean islands.
Of those, 6,124 are on Lesvos, 4,211 on Chios, 2,760 on Samos, 1,990 on Kos and 870 on Leros.
Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas recently expressed concern about the repercussions on Greece if a deal between Turkey and the European Union to crack down on human smuggling in the Aegean founders.
New government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, in his first briefing to reporters on Tuesday, was asked whether there was a contingency plan to tackle such an eventuality.
He said it was the responsibility of both the EU and Ankara to honor the deal, which was signed in March.