The improving weather has been accompanied by an increase in arrivals of undocumented refugees and migrants on the Aegean islands by sea from neighboring Turkey, with the already overcrowded reception center on Samos under rising pressure.
With the Vathy camp already hosting more than 4,000 people – several times its capacity of 650 – the new arrivals pose a real headache for the authorities. Dozens of people are reaching Samos, as well as Lesvos and other islands in the eastern Aegean, daily on boats from Turkey.
The impasse has fueled rising intolerance among residents on Samos, with parents withdrawing their children from one school for two weeks to protest the presence of refugee children in classes. Though the Education Ministry described the move as “an attempt to cultivate a climate of racism and xenophobia,” the parents insist they are concerned about public health due to unsanitary conditions at the Vathy camp.