Two days after 16 migrants drowned off the coast of Lesvos when their smuggling boat sank, the executive director of the European Union’s border monitoring agency Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, was on the island for talks with local authority officials.
On Thursday Leggeri is to meet with top state officials including Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis, Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and the chiefs of the Hellenic Police and Coast Guard.
Talks are expected to focus on ongoing efforts by officers of Frontex and the Greek coast guard to crack down on human smuggling across the Aegean.
A search and rescue operation launched on Monday after a smuggling boat sank shortly after leaving Turkey continued on Tuesday and Wednesday but hopes of finding survivors have all but disappeared. Greek and Turkish officers pulled the bodies of 16 migrants, including two children, out of the sea on Tuesday.
Two survivors indicated that around 25 people had been aboard the smuggling vessel, prompting the search, but no other survivors had been located by nightfall on Wednesday.
Conditions at the reception centers on Lesvos and other eastern Aegean islands remain substandard, according to human rights organizations.
Although the number of arrivals of undocumented migrants has reduced considerably since early last year, most camps remain overcrowded and dirty while allegations of sexual abuse and drug dealing are rife.