Authorities seek sites to relocate park refugees

Authorities seek sites to relocate park refugees

A disused military base and two state-owned campsites on the outskirts of Attica are among the locations being considered as a possible alternative for housing dozens of Syrian and Afghan refugees who have been camped out at a park in central Athens over the past few weeks.

The Attica Regional Authority on Wednesday convened a crisis meeting with Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou and representatives of local authorities and nongovernmenal organizations to discuss ways of offering some relief to the growing number of migrants finding refuge in Pedion tou Areos park amid concerns that unsuitable sanitation and living conditions, coupled with a heat wave, may start taking a toll on their health.

“We need an immediate emergency plan,” Deputy Athens Mayor Antonis Kafetzopoulos told Kathimerini after the meeting.

The head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), Thanasis Giannopoulos, meanwhile said that the makeshift camp at Pedion tou Areos does not pose a public health hazard. He added that two KEELPNO teams will be visiting the park today and tomorrow to carry out health checks and to vaccinate the estimated 150 children.

“This is the first time that all the relevant public entities, local authorities, NGOs and other parties involved in the matter have sat down at the same table and held an extensive discussion,” said Deputy Regional Governor for Attica Ermina Kyprianidou.

Kyprianidou assured that the authorities will continue working with nongovernmental relief groups to provide clothing, food, water and medical services to the refugees, particularly as temperatures in the Greek capital are expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius in the next couple of days.

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