The first 100 asylum seekers on Friday morning were transferred by boat from the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos to the mainland, as part of the Greek government’s efforts to decongest the overcrowded identification centre in Moria and the unofficial camp formed around it.
In the past few days, numerous NGOs have criticised the government for the squalid living conditions prevailing in the camp, while the Regional Authority of the Northern Aegean has given the Ministry of Migration Policy 30 days to clean it up, or face closure.
A total of 2,000 vulnerable migrants seeking asylum are expected to be transferred to the mainland by the end of September, according to state-run news agency ANA-MPA.
The first group of refugees will be sent to a new camp the city of Kavala with a capacity to house 1,200 people.
In the coming weeks, groups of up to 400 people will be sent to either Kavala, or a separate camp in Katsikas, in the north-western region of Ioannina, the news agency said.
Another 1,000 asylum seekers will be transferred in October to a third camp that will operate near Preveza, in western Greece, Migration Ministry sources told ANA-MPA.