Around 1,000 refugees to be transferred to mainland

Around 1,000 refugees to be transferred to mainland

Some 1,000 refugees and migrants belonging to vulnerable groups are set to be removed on Saturday from camps on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos.

The refugees will board the Nisos Samos ship but its destination was still not known on Thursday.

The transfer is part of the Migration Policy Ministry’s efforts to remove as many vulnerable refugees and migrants – including seniors, disabled people, families with children and women – from the islands as possible.

To this end, 224 people of various nationalities, who were stranded at camps on Chios, arrived in Piraeus on Thursday morning at 5 a.m. and boarded buses for shelters on the mainland.

Another 50 were also moved to the mainland from Chios last week.

The transfers come amid calls by island authorities and Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) for the immediate removal of refugees from the overcrowded island camps to the mainland.

According to the latest data, there are currently 8,322 refugees and migrants on Lesvos, 2,704 in Chios and 2,289 in Samos.

MSF has said that the deplorable living conditions and the uncertainty have taken a mental toll, with several refugees attempting suicide and others injuring themselves or turning to drugs and alcohol.