Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.
It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said.
Greece is struggling to cope with the thousands of people fleeing poverty and war in countries such as Syria for Europe. Tensions have flared on eastern islands including Kos and Lesbos where most refugees land due to their proximity to Turkey.
On Monday morning, a Greek ferry unloaded 2,500 migrants at the port of Piraeus, bringing the total number of people moved to the mainland since last Monday to more than 15,000. Thousands more are waiting to be identified and ferried to Athens to continue their trip to other European countries.
"The First Response Service requested that the EU civil protection mechanism is activated in order to substantially strengthen the efforts undertaken by the First Reception Service to manage a volatile situation," the ministry said.
"The satisfaction of the said request is expected to be of critical assistance to the work of the First Response System, which, under current conditions, is extremely difficult."
The EU's civil protection mechanism coordinates the bloc's humanitarian aid efforts, channeling aid and sending special teams with equipment to disaster areas. It has previously helped Greece fight forest fires.
European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos have already promised Athens 33 million euros to help it tackle the crisis. [Reuters]