NEWS

Greek PM calls for unity on migrant issue as influx persists

GIORGOS BOURDARAS, TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Migration, Politics

As hundreds of migrants continue to land on the Aegean islands from Turkey on most days, local communities both on the islands and the mainland are up in arms over the government’s planned overhaul of the country’s reception centers.

On the islands, local authorities claim not have been consulted about the plans announced earlier this week for new “closed” centers that would gradually replace existing overcrowded facilities.

On the mainland, meanwhile, local residents in areas where the government also aims to set up new reception facilities are also angry at that scheme, which authorities have yet to officially announce.

On Thursday, residents of Avlaki in Fthiotida staged a protest against the planned creation of a new center for migrants at a disused factory in the area.

On Friday another 410 migrants crossed over from Turkey, putting further pressure on cramped island camps.

The notorious Moria facility on Lesvos is now hosting more than 16,000 people (it was designed to hold 2,850) while conditions are similarly dire on Samos where the Vathy camp is hosting 6,932 (10 times its capacity of 650) with 5,530 people in the Vial facility on Chios (created for 1,050).

According to official figures, nearly 30,000 migrants have arrived in Greece from Turkey – via both land and sea – since the beginning of September.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday underlined the need for Greeks to remain “united” in the face of the challenge to tackle migration as Movement for Change (KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata pressed him to “set our priorities and our limits” to Greece’s European partners and sought more details about a planned government overhaul of migrant reception centers.

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