Official calls for crisis talks over Athens park migrant camp

A senior official in the Attica Regional Authority on Friday sent a letter to several ministries, Athens City Hall and other state services, requesting an emergency meeting next week to address how to deal with a burgeoning migrant camp in one of the capital’s biggest parks.

In her letter, Attica Vice Regional Governor Ermina Kyprianidou called for crisis talks on the situation at Pedion tou Areos, where around 250 migrants have set up camp over the past 10 days, and in other central squares.

The intervention came a day after Immigration Policy Minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou said the government can only offer limited help to migrants who do not apply for asylum as they want to continue their journeys beyond Greece. She did indicate, however, that authorities are considering operating a temporary facility in central Athens where migrants “can wash their clothes and have a bath.”

Fears have grown about health risks as around 1,000 migrants are arriving in Athens daily and many end up sleeping in squares or parks. The situation at Pedion tou Areos is of concern as there are many children and babies there and aid workers say some already have symptoms of gastroenteritis.