As winter looms, and hundreds of migrants continue to live in tents outside overcrowded reception centers on the Aegean islands, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has conceded that he could not rule out the risk of people dying from hypothermia.
In an interview with Der Spiegel that was published on Friday, Mouzalas said that authorities were making preparations to ensure that the so-called hot-spots on Lesvos and other islands are ready to deal with plunging temperatures.
Everything should be in place by December 15, he said.
"We are already sending more equipment and food to the camp," Mouzalas said, referring to the Moria reception center on Lesvos where three migrants died of hypothermia last winter.
"The key though is the number of new arrivals," he said, adding that if there is no large increase in numbers "then we are well prepared."
Authorities might reserve some rooms in local hotels if necessary, he said.
Asked why Greece is not transferring larger numbers of migrants from cramped centers on the islands to the mainland, Mouzalas said authorities were doing all that they could within the framework of a deal between Ankara and the European Union aimed at cracking down on human smuggling across the Aegean.
The deal was signed in March 2016.