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Migrants entering the EU. Photo supplied

More than 400 migrants land in Greece in one day

The refugee flow from Turkey to Greece is continuing. Within a 24-hour period, 427 migrants reached the islands of Rhodes, Lesbos and Samos in the east of the Aegean Sea.

Published: September 16, 2019, 11:32 am

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    The Greek coast guard has confirmed the arrival of the migrants.

    Giannis Balbakakis, the leader of the much-criticized migrant camp Moria in Lesbos, has meanwhile resigned. He leaves with his head held high, he said to the Greek news agency ANA MPA.

    “I’m tired,” it was said. For years, humanitarian organisations have denounced the living conditions in Moria and other camps on the Greek islands.

    A migration pact between the European Union and Turkey concluded in March 2016 stipulated that the EU can return all migrants who arrive illegally from Turkey on the Greek islands. However, due to a lack of staff, processing of asylum applications on the islands has been extremely difficult.

    The new conservative Greek government, which has been in office since July, wants to speed up asylum procedures. Those who do not get asylum should be sent back to Turkey immediately. There would be more staff for processing the asylum applications.

    More than 20 000 refugees are already living in the camps, where there is only room for around 6 300 people. The reception camps are therefore overcrowded while a further 4 000 people are housed in smaller camps and homes.

    Some 1 500 migrants had to be moved from the Moria asylum reception center to other facilities in Thessaloniki due to overcrowding, Athens News Agency reported.

    In August already, around 600 migrants landed in Skala Sikamias in Lesbos in a single day, the largest number of migrant arrivals since the EU-Turkey agreement limiting the flow of migrants was signed.

    Also in August, Greece saw close to 7 000 migrants arrive by boat, the highest number since 2016. In 2019 alone, around 34 000 migrants have arrived in Greece, the highest number since the height of the migrant crisis.

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