NEWS

Government considers boosting capacity of refugee centers

TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Migration, Politics

The Migration Policy Ministry is reportedly considering increasing the capacity of existing refugee and migrant centers on the mainland as a first step in managing a recent spike in arrivals from neighboring Turkey, in a plan ministry sources say the European Union agrees with.

“Practically, this means tents will be set up between the containers, exacerbating the already difficult situation for the residents,” a nongovernmental organization official said.

Increasing capacity also means that the current logistics involved in running the camps will have to be adjusted. For example, if daily food costs are 3.5 euros per person per day (according to the specifications cited in official announcements), an additional 16,478 additional refugees will mean an extra 57,673 euros per day.

According to official data, 6,632 refugees crossed into Greece in April alone and 16,478 people in the first five months of the year, of whom 9,375 arrived on the islands and 7,103 from the Evros border in northeastern Greece.

The government is also hoping to reduce arrivals and overcrowding on the islands by investing in diplomacy with Turkey and speeding up the asylum process through a bill which is being discussed in Parliament.

At the same time, the reactions of residents on the islands that have borne the brunt of migration, even if they do not reflect the views of the entire population, show their patience is wearing thin.

Authorities have also recorded increased arrivals of Turkish nationals from Evros.

According to Kathimerini’s sources, about 30 Turks have been arriving on a daily basis since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called elections for next month, versus zero arrivals previously.

However, in total numbers, flows from Evros appear to be easing.

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