Construction of a pre-departure center on Chios for migrants slated for deportation is expected to begin within the next two months on a plot near the village of Olympoi in the southwestern part of the eastern Aegean island.
According to police sources, “it will be a small, closed facility with an overall capacity of 200,” and will not be replacing an unofficial camp at Souda, where tensions have flared on several occasions due to overcrowding and poor living conditions.
The Olympoi location was chosen by a team of experts from the Citizens’ Protection Ministry, which will be responsible for running the camp instead of the Migration Ministry, which is tasked with closing down the Souda facility.
“For Souda to close, a suitable place first needs to be found to move its remaining residents,” the same sources said.
“Under no circumstances will the pre-departure center act as a reception facility,” they added, keen to placate residents and businesses opposed to the creation of any new facilities on the tourism-oriented island that is already hosting nearly 4,000 migrants and asylum seekers.
On the holiday island of Kos, meanwhile, authorities are confident that a pre-departure center there, coupled with increased police patrols, have contributed significantly toward curbing the adverse effects of the migration crisis on tourism.