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48,000 refugees in Greece for five days

24 October 2015 / 14:10:15  GRReporter
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Within just five days, up until 21 October, 48,000 immigrants entered Greece. The overall number of migrants who have come to Europe through the Mediterranean, has reached 681,000, said the International Organisation for Migration.

"Despite the deteriorating weather conditions, about 48,000 immigrants and refugees have crossed the sea between Turkey and the Greek islands. On average, about 9,600 people a day have crossed the straits in the past five days," the Organisation emphasized arguing that this is the highest weekly number this year.

The Lesbos capital, Mytilene, continues to receive the largest number of immigrants: 27,276 have arrived on the island for the said five days.

Chios has received 9,750 within the same spell. As reported, while throughout the summer the island got an average of 300 people a day, last week saw a sudden upsurge in numbers, with daily averages shooting up to 2,000.

The International Organisation for Migration claims the number of deaths at sea must have increased during that period as well.

Along with this, yesterday the UNHCR regional refugee coordinator , Amin Awad, said the Russian air attacks and the ongoing fighting around Aleppo in Syria have driven over 30,000 out of their homes. According to Awad, Syria's internal migration has dropped from 7.6 to 6.3 million people. The decrease is due to the migration outflows to Europe as well as to the fact that many migrants actually don't get counted.

Meanwhile, the German Der Spiegel published information saying that the European Commission wants the refugee reception centres (the so-called Hotspots) to move from Lesvos and Kos to a larger hub in Athens. The latter will be set up in the former Olympic village, and will be able to shelter 40,000 to 50,000 people. It will be managed by FRONTEX and the UNHCR.

The publication notes that the Greek government has already expressed some concerns over the idea.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Sunday's summit in Brussels to achieve a significant improvement in the work of the Hotspots. Merkel argues the allocation of refugees within the EU must be done directly from the reception centres. Leaflets in Arabic will be handed out to refugees to inform them about the distribution system. The magazine points out that Greece already systematically catalogues the refugees and takes their fingerprints. But most of them refuse to file asylum requests for fear of being deported or sent to a European country where they don't want to live.

According to Der Spiegel, the key issue is that the Greek islands are unable to cope with the refugee influx, which is why the European Commission wants centres to move to the mainland. "Juncker and Merkel have yet to convince the Greek government of this plan's advantages. Prime Minister Tsipras fears that centres with that many refugees will resemble concentration camps. Moreover, the arrival of foreign employees will remind Greeks of the debt crisis and the hateful threesome," says the magazine.

Tags: refugees immigrants Mytilene Chios International Organisation for Migration
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