Migrant Flows to Greek Islands on the Rise Again

Migrant flow from Turkey to the northeastern Aegean islands is on the rise in the past ten days putting locals under great pressure in the middle of the tourist season.

Lesvos and Chios are the two islands that see the biggest number of daily arrivals. At the same time, thousands of asylum seekers are stranded there waiting for their applications to be processed.

According to official data, from June 8 until the 16, 683 migrants from Turkey arrived on the Aegean islands. The new arrivals are added to the total number of asylum seekers on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, which was 14,368 until June 16.

On Chios, residents have started reacting to the mass number of migrants and refugees stranded on the island. About 2,000 people remain in the makeshift Souda camp, on the outskirts of the main town.

As the number of newcomers rises, tents are spreading, reaching all the way to the beach. Locals held a protest rally with a great turnover. They requested for the migrants and refugees to be registered on the island and then transferred to the mainland.

The protesters also held the local authorities responsible for lining up with the government policy. Many of the asylum seekers are to be sent back to Turkey, based on the EU-Turkey agreement of March 2016, however the process of returns has been frozen due to bureaucratic reasons.