Refugee Flow Continues to Greece Unabated; Frustration at Overcrowded Camps



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The refugee and migrant flows from Turkey to Greece continue unabated with the number of trapped foreigners on Greek islands at 15,714 people. Over the last 20 days, there were 2,228 refugees and migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey, according to data from the International Organization of Migrants (IOM). Of these, 107 refugees arrived over the last 24 hours. From the start of the year until October 23, there were 169,302 arrivals via the Aegean Sea. The death toll from the perilous crossing is at 3,671 people this year alone.

A large portion of the refugees currently in Greece are unaccompanied minors. There are 1,500 unaccompanied children intermingled with other refugees at reception centers, and just 700 children have been placed in suitable facilities.

Despite the fact that vulnerable groups have priority in the relocation program from Greece to other EU countries, there have only been 50 unaccompanied minors as few EU member states want to take children for obvious reasons. As a result, they are fodder for exploitation as traffickers seek them out.

The overcrowded facilities have led to a rise in tension at Greek islands. A recent indication of the pressure and agitation was observed when refugee protestors on Lesvos hurled rocks and burning blankets at the offices of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) premises on Monday, as well as another refugee protest at a camp on the Greek island of Chios on Wednesday forcing asylum processing staff to evacuate.

The destruction of the facilities at Lesvos has resulted in a temporary pause in the asylum process. Problems were noted at a camp at Myrsini Elia when refugees attacked a woman who is employed in food catering, holding her responsible for the drowning of an 18-month old toddler in a half-filled pool.

The overcrowded migrant camps are brimming with frustration as the refugees are prevented from going beyond the islands until their claims are assessed so that the large number of those who do not qualify can be deported to Turkey.