NEWS

Minister summons regional governors, demands solutions for migrant camps

TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Migration, Politics

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis will be convening an emergency meeting of the country’s regional governors in Athens on Friday to discuss plans to create new migrant and refugee camps on the Greek mainland following reactions to the transfer of hundreds of asylum seekers from woefully overcrowded facilities on the Aegean islands.

Chrysochoidis called the meeting late on Tuesday after plans to build a new facility at a disused military base near the city of Lamia in central Greece were scuppered by local reactions. The minister sent an email to all 13 recently elected regional governors, demanding that they come ready with proposals on how to deal with the issue.

Chrysochoidis’ decision was triggered by the impact of the growing number of migrants arriving from Turkey on island camps, where conditions are already at boiling point.

According to official figures released on Wednesday, the Moria camp on Lesvos is hosting 12,500 people at a facility built for 3,000; Samos’ camp, with a capacity of just 648, has 5,267 residents; Chios has 3,680 people squeezed into a space created for just over 1,000; Kos is hosting 3,093 people at its 816-capacity camp; and Leros’ camp for 860 people has 1,454 migrants living there. Thousands are said to be sleeping rough or in tents outside the boundaries of the camps, where they have little protection from the elements.

On Tuesday alone, more than 650 migrants and refugees landed on Greece’s shores from Turkey.

The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has compiled a list of disused military bases across the mainland that could be turned into migrant camps at a relatively small cost and in time for the onset of winter.

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