Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday chaired a meeting to assess his administration’s progress in responding to the migration crisis, with sources indicating that military facilities are among the venues being considered for accommodating thousands of migrants.
Greece agreed in October to host 50,000 migrants as part of the European Union’s response to the crisis. It remains unclear how close Athens is to fulfilling this target but current efforts are focused on finding facilities to accommodate another 10,000 people, sources indicated.
Greece has made use of former Olympic venues to host some of the migrants arriving in the capital from the Aegean islands. But thousands who want to continue their journey through the Balkans toward Northern Europe prefer to camp in the city’s squares.
The only state-backed venue said to met European Union standards is a facility in the area of Elaionas, which has prefabricated houses, running water and electricity.
Despite the frequently adverse weather conditions, thousands of migrants continue to brave the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece. Thousands have made it but many have drowned in the process. On Tuesday, Turkish coast guard officials recovered the bodies of 34 migrants, including three children, off the coast of the seaside town of Ayvalik. The migrants died after their plastic boat, which is believed to have been headed for Lesvos, overturned.