Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that thousands of refugees and migrants stranded by the destruction of the Moria camp will have left the eastern Aegean island by next spring.
“Of the roughly 12,000 refugees here currently, I foresee 6,000 being transferred to the mainland by Christmas and the rest by Easter, Chrysochoidis told The Guardian on Lesvos on Tuesday.
“The people of this island have gone through a lot. They’ve been very patient,” he told the British paper.
Roughly two-thirds of the migrants on the island are Afghans who will be granted asylum and given travel papers Chrysochoidis said, adding that it is essential, however, that they agree to move into the makeshift camp being set up to temporarily replace Moria so that their asylum applications can be processed.
The minister also hailed support from Germany, France and a few other European Union countries that stepped forward to help by taking in a total of around 2,000 refugees.
“It’s very generous, very brave,” Chrysochoidis told The Guardian. “All over Europe, countries have their own internal political problems around this issue but I also think they [EU states] can see we are protecting the bloc’s borders, we have greatly minimized flows.”