The population of the overcrowded Moria migrant processing center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos has fallen below 6,000 for the first time in months following the transfer of 1,650 residents to the Greek mainland, but still remains well above capacity.
Moria was originally built to accommodate around 2,000 refugees and migrants. Its population has swelled to above 8,000 at times and was recently hovering in the 7,000 range, prompting criticism from humanitarian groups concerning living conditions, particularly in light of winter.
According to official figures quoted on Monday by the ANA-MPA news agency, 1,650 migrants and refugees have been moved from Moria to facilities in Athens and other parts of the mainland Greece from December 1 and until Sunday. By Monday’s count, Moria has 5,500 residents and transfers are expected to pick up in the next few weeks.
There are an additional 990 migrants and refugees at Lesvos’s municipal camp of Kara Tepe as well as another 700 staying at other accommodation, mainly apartments and hotels in the center of the main town, Mytilini.
In the meantime, authorities have also recorded 659 new arrivals on Lesvos since the start of the month, with the total on the islands of the eastern Aegean coming to 1,769 from December 1 to 17, the ANA-MPA reported.