Evros seeks help with migrants

Regional authorities in the border prefecture of Evros yesterday decided to appeal to the state ombudsman in a bid to secure government help in coping with illegal immigration. «Illegal immigration is not just a temporary problem that will go away, but has become a permanent concern and merits corresponding treatment,» Evros prefect Nikos Zambounidis said. Prompting Greek diplomatic complaints to Ankara, over 4,000 illegal immigrants entered Thrace from Turkey last summer, taking advantage of the drought that lowered the level of the Evros River, along which the border runs. They were housed in temporary reception centers in the area, and many are still there. The Evros regional council also proposes to take up the problem with the European ombudsman. Furthermore, it decided to stop supplying the immigrant reception centers with food from April 1 unless the government agrees to provide financial aid (as it is obliged to do under international treaties Greece has signed), build up to three new centers and hire 150 more border guards.

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