Migrants keep heading for Aegean islands despite bad weather


Despite the bad weather, dozens of undocumented migrants made the short but perilous crossing to the Aegean islands from Turkey in the last few days of the year.

A total of 75 migrants reached Farmakonisi in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, according to the Greek Coast Guard, which intercepted two vessels carrying 38 and 37 migrants respectively. All 75 migrants were transferred to nearby Leros for identification.

Over the weekend, another 55 migrants reached Lesvos and Chios. Samos had no arrivals over the same period but authorities remain concerned following an increase  last month.

“Migrant flows may have reduced due to the weather but they haven’t stopped,” Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos said, noting that 1,080 people arrived in December.

The government has pledged to close the island’s overcrowded reception center by mid-February,though sources say it will difficult to do anything before local elections in May.