Warning of Patras migrant crisis

As the Greek office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned of a «very serious, emergency situation» at an overflowing makeshift settlement for illegal immigrants in the central port of Patras, local police said they were investigating the beating Tuesday night of three different groups of Afghan migrants by unidentified assailants on motorcycles. Officers did not determine the severity of the injuries sustained by the victims. The attackers are alleged to have targeted the Afghans in three different spots near the port, where would-be immigrants have set up a camp. According to the UNHCR, the camp is in «a deplorable» condition, accommodating several hundred migrants, including many children. There are many other migrants living on the streets of Patras as the camp has reached saturation point, according to agency representative Ketty Kehayioglou. She said that Greece «lacks the adequate infrastructure» to deal with the recent influx of migrants entering Greece. Most of these migrants enter Greece via the country’s land and sea borders with Turkey before heading to Patras with the aim of boarding a ferry to Italy and continuing on to Western Europe. Not all of them, however, manage to sneak past port authority officials and end up sleeping at the makeshift camp, which has mushroomed at the port over the past three years. On the Aegean island of Samos, which bears much of the brunt of the influx of migrants by sea, municipal authorities yesterday shut down their offices in protest at the situation. They are calling on the government to provide them with more local police and port authority officials, to fund an extension to their local migrant reception center and exert pressure on Turkey to cooperate in the crackdown on human smugglers.