Migrant flows to islands on the rise again


There has been a significant increase in the number of arrivals of refugees and migrants on the Greek islands in the last week, placing yet more pressure on migrant reception centers, known as hotspots.

From August 28 up until early on Monday, 1,092 people had arrived on the shores of the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, as well as other islands that lack the infrastructure to register and identify them.

To make matters worse, there have been no returns to Turkey – as part of the joint Ankara-Brussels agreement announced in March 2016 – for the last two months.

Police sources have told Kathimerini that the increase in migrant arrivals is not of particular concern, as there was a similar surge in the same period last year.

According to data from the Migration Policy Ministry, 576 people arrived in Greece, mostly on Lesvos, between Friday and on Monday morning, increasing numbers at the island’s hotspot to 3,7878, even though it has a capacity for 2,300 people.

Samos is also plagued by overcrowding as the specially designed space created for the identification and temporary stay of 700 people is now hosting 2,369, some of whom have been on the island for more than a year.

Mounting tensions on Samos in the last few days have led to clashes between migrants – Syrians and Iraqis – in and around the camp, with five rushed to hospital with knife wounds on the weekend.