Accommodation will be created for an additional 4,000 refugees on the Greek mainland by November, the head of the International Organization for Migration’s mission in Greece, Gianluca Rocco, said on Wednesday, adding that the government’s plan to speed up the processing of asylum applications and ease pressure on overcrowded facilities on the Aegean islands is in the right direction.
The additional space is to be found through the extension of existing facilities on the mainland as well as the creation of new ones in Corinth, Kavala and Fthiotida.
Rocco stressed, however, that authorities should not delay in taking action to speed up procedures and improve living standards. He said the IOM is cooperating with the government in the drafting of a “master plan” for comprehensively tackling migration.
A total of 2,000 people have registered for the IOM’s Helios program for refugee integration, which includes courses in the Greek language and job skills.
Separately, the European Union’s border monitoring agency Frontex said Wednesday that the number of undocumented migrants entering Europe in August was 12,900, double the figure that arrived in the same period last year.
Of those, 9,300 entered the bloc via the Aegean islands, with Lesvos coming under particular pressure.