The Greek capital is hosting just under one-third of some 60,000 refugees and migrants who should be more fairly distributed around other parts of the country, Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference announcing the results of three surveys carried out by the Observatory of Refugee Inflows program run by the municipal authority, Kaminis reiterated calls for legislative action that would ensure every municipality of Greece hosts a fair share of migrants and refugees, easing the pressure on places like Athens and the islands of the eastern Aegean that have borne the brunt of the crisis.
“It is Athens that ends up paying the price when municipal authorities and the state disclaim their responsibilities,” said Kaminis.
According to the mayor, the Greek capital is currently home to roughly 18,000 refugees, of which 2,600 are staying at a camp in Elaionas, 1,600 at apartments rented under a program by the UN's refugee agency and the municipal authority, and between 2,500 and 3,000 at squats or shelters run by NGOs, among other facilities.
The figures emerged from three surveys carried out by the municipality's refugee monitoring program, which also found that only 5 percent of refugees surveyed expressed a desire to remain in Greece.
The data also showed that 66 percent of Athenians do not believe that the presence of refugees in their neighborhood is a problem.