Island mayors raise alarm bell over congestion at hotspots

Island mayors raise alarm bell over congestion at hotspots

In a series of letters to the Greek government, mayors and the Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDE) have raised the alarm bell over the congestion at hotspots hosting asylum seekers in the islands of the northeastern Aegean.

Moreover, Doctors Without Borders and other non-governmental organizations have decried the dire living condition at these reception centers that are having a dismal impact on the lives and health of asylum seekers.

On Thursday, a man attempted suicide at the VIAL hotspot on Chios which is severely overcrowded with 1,964 people while the center’s capacity is 800.

Migrant flows have picked up recently with more than 100 people arriving daily on the Greek islands, while on Thursday alone another 245 people arrived. Since the beginning of the month until Thursday, a total of 1,535 migrants and refugees arrived on the Greek islands.

"The increased migrant flows of recent months, coupled with enormous delays in their relocation and minimal repatriation, disrupt social cohesion and feed into some minorities phenomena of intolerance and fanaticism," said KEDE President Giorgos Patoulis, who is calling for a meeting between Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, island mayors and KEDE representatives.  Patoulis has also asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

More than 40 volunteer organizations and groups operating on the Greek islands and the mainland are urging local and central authorities to take urgent steps to avoid more deaths of refugees from the cold as winter approaches

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