The government’s plan to house migrants and refugees in hotels on the mainland as part of ongoing efforts to relieve pressure on camps on the islands appears to have hit a hurdle after several hoteliers refused to participate in the housing program drafted by the Citizens Protection Ministry and opposition from local residents.
A case in point was an incident on Wednesday in the village of Vrasna, northeast of Thessaloniki, where authorities were forced to abandon plans to house about 400 refugees from an overcrowded camp on the island of Samos in local hotels after residents blocked the path of the eight buses they were on.
As a result of the standoff and pressure from the protesters, local hoteliers reneged on their initial agreement to house the new arrivals, who were turned back and sent to hotels in Aghia Anna in northern Evia. The wider municipality of Volvi is already home to 2,000 refugees and migrants.
The overall plan foresees the transfer, and gradual housing, of some 20,000 people to new shelters over the next few months. Accordingly, 10,000 would be housed at hotels, apartments and other units rented out by the state. The other 10,000 are to be transferred to disused industrial facilities where they will be housed in large tents with a capacity of up to 50 people.