Lesvos feels benefits of faster refugee processing

Lesvos feels benefits of faster refugee processing

A push by the caretaker government to relieve pressure on the island of Lesvos from thousands of refugees and migrants started bearing fruit Friday, following the transfer to the capital of more than 29,000 people.

In the first phase of the scheme, the government in cooperation with the UN refugee agency set up a 24-hour registration center at a soccer field to process the thousands of asylum seekers and migrants who became trapped due to registration delays on the island and were living in makeshift camps or in the streets, also putting mounting pressure on the local community.

“The second stage of the plan is to create the infrastructure to deal with a possible new spike in arrivals,” Tzanetos Filippakos, general secretary for citizens’ protection, told Kathimerini on Friday. “Of course thousands continue to arrive every day but there is a plan. Right now there are 2,500 migrants on Lesvos but we estimate that by tomorrow that number will have reached 5,500.”

The general secretary added that identification centers have also been set up in a camp in Moria currently housing around 1,200 non-Syrians and another in Cara Tepe, where 600 Syrians will be processed. A new center is also due to open on the island’s northern coast, which is where most of the arrivals land.

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