Refugee flows remain a concern
As the last of the refugees and migrants stranded at the port of Piraeus were bused on Wednesday to organized accommodation shelters of their choice around the country, authorities are reportedly concerned by the continued flow of asylum seekers to the islands.
According to the latest official data, there were 9,140 refugees and migrants on the islands of the eastern Aegean on Wednesday, while 100 more arrived throughout the day. This is a significant increase compared to the 8,475 on July 13, when arrivals began to pick up again at a daily rate of between 40 and 120 people.
The situation has been further compounded by the failed coup attempt in Turkey and its aftermath, which, authorities say, has practically “frozen” the return of refugees to the neighboring country.
This has resulted in overcrowding at hotspots across the islands of the eastern Aegean. The two hotpsots of Moria and Kara Tepe on Lesvos, for instance, are currently hosting 3,800 refugees and migrants – above their total capacity of 3,500.
On Chios, the makeshift hotspot of Vial, built for 1,100 people, is accommodating 2,509, while the facility on Samos with a capacity of 850 people, is providing shelter to 1,356 people.
There has also been a significant drop in the number of preliminary asylum claims lodged by Syrian refugees on the islands because many staff working for the European Asylum service have taken leave, authorities said.
Meanwhile, cleaning crews were deployed to spruce up the area of Piraeus port Wednesday after its evacuation.
According to the latest data, there were 1,039 refugees at the port on Monday and 887 on Tuesday, while there were 426 migrants left Wednesday morning.