Municipal authorities on Chios on Friday voted in favor of creating a pre-departure detention facility on the eastern Aegean island with the aim of accelerating the return to Turkey of migrants who are not eligible for asylum.
The island’s municipal council approved the motion to create the center despite opposition by local businesses and residents, many of whom have grown exasperated at the continued presence of thousands of migrants on the island.
According to sources, government officials have committed to closing the island’s Souda reception center, where living conditions are said to be substandard, once the pre-departure facility is ready.
The island’s Vial reception center, on the premises of an abandoned aluminium factory, will continue to operate, hosting refugees, while migrants facing deportation will be moved to the new facility.
A total of 1,496 migrants are currently on Chios out of 13,758 on the eastern Aegean islands, according to government figures released on Friday.