Two new migrant reception centers to open on mainland

Two new migrant reception centers to open on mainland

As authorities seek to reduce the pressure on migrant reception centers on the Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros by transferring hundreds of people to the mainland, there are plans to open another two centers in central and northern Greece. 

According to Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas, two new centers are to open in the coming weeks, in Vaiochori, near Thessaloniki, and Kypselochori, close to Larissa. 

Although the number of migrants at reception centers on the five eastern Aegean islands dropped to around 11,000 this month, from around 18,000 last summer, hundreds are still sleeping in tents in the cold weather. 

The centers on the mainland, meanwhile, are intended to respond to an influx from the northern land border with Turkey as well as transfers from the islands.

Vitsas said last week that arrivals over the Greek-Turkish land border increased by 284 percent last year compared to a 10 percent spike in arrivals to the Aegean islands.

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