Amid a fresh uptick in migrants reaching Greece’s eastern Aegean islands from Turkey and rising tensions on island reception centers, Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos on Wednesday sent a letter to several ministers and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling for immediate action to ease the pressure on local communities.
In his letter to Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, Galinos repeated his request for thousands of migrants to be transferred from camps on Lesvos – which has long been a favored dropping-off point for human smugglers – to the mainland.
His appeal came two days after migrants rioted at the hugely overcrowded Moria reception center on Lesvos as authorities prepared deportations to Turkey.
The mayor underlined the need for action to be taken to speed up the processing of asylum claims and prevent tensions from building up in the reception centers where some migrants have been waiting for months. He also expressed concern about the impact on tourism of the fresh upheaval.
“Unfortunately the intense concern and worry I have repeatedly expressed…regarding the need for accelerating the asylum procedures with the aim of decongesting the Moria center, has been vindicated,” he wrote, adding that the riots are a “massive blow to the community and economy.”