Bid to enlarge Chios refugee camp contested

Bid to enlarge Chios refugee camp contested

Residents of Chios continue to resist the Migration Policy Ministry’s efforts to install more prefabricated huts at the Vial hotspot on the island, as the two sides debate the issue of financial compensation.

Islanders have been resisting efforts to expand the overcrowded refugee camp over the last two months and have blocked attempts to install the containers to house the migrants on the site.

In a letter to local authorities earlier this week, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas explained that the government could not offer further compensation for alleged damages suffered as result of the hotspot being located on the island.

Mouzalas said that Chios was given emergency funding that reached 250,000 euros in 2015 and 400,000 euros in 2016.

Responding to a question in Parliament, he also said the Municipality of Chios had received 750,000 euros for the Vial camp.

He suggested, though, that there may be further compensation for the islanders who live in the vicinity of the hotspot but this would require the relevant provision to be included in draft legislation that the government is preparing.

“Within the framework set out by the law and the state’s fiscal limitations, the Migration Policy Ministry, and I personally, recognize, also in financial terms, the contribution that Chios has made in managing the flow of migrants to our country,” Mouzalas said in his letter to local officials.

According to Frontex, there was a 43 percent drop in the number of arrivals compared to December.

A total of 1,850 people reached the Greek islands from the Turkish coast.

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