Authorities hold emergency meeting on Lesvos on migration

Authorities hold emergency meeting on Lesvos on migration

Security and municipal services on the Greek island of Lesvos held an emergency meeting Monday after administrators of a refugee camp said they were overwhelmed by the number of arrivals from nearby Turkey.

The camp at Moria on the Aegean Sea island began turning away new arrivals Friday as the number of people at the site exceeded 12,000, four times its intended capacity.

The rapidly rising numbers — the highest entering the European Union — have created the worst crisis on the island since the massive influx of refugees into Europe four years ago. Hundreds of migrants unable to find camp accommodation are already sleeping in the open or in tents.

The government has promised tougher sea patrols and said it would seek additional international support including resources from the EU border protection agency Frontex. 

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos at the weekend said the Greek armed forces would provide greater support to island coast patrols but did not give further details.

“Our actions must be planned so that our eyes and ears in the Aegean Sea, surveillance mechanisms and the personnel cooperate more intensively to tighten surveillance and possibly deterrence,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to discuss the crisis at meetings this week with US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.


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