Greece Begins Transferring Migrants from Lesvos to the Mainland

Greek authorities transferred more than 250 refugees and migrants of vulnerable groups from Lesvos to Piraeus, on Wednesday.

Among the group that boarded a ferry were families with children, women who are alone, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

The move was organized by the ministry of migration policy to evacuate as many vulnerable refugees and migrants as possible from the island, before winter sets in.

Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said the effort will “intensify” in the coming days.

The group will be transferred by buses; rented by UNHCR, to accommodation centres supported by the agency, in mainland Greece.

According to reports, the government plans to transfer about 3,000 people from Lesvos to the mainland by December 10, while similar actions will also be taken for other islands.

About 8,500 refugees and migrants are currently trapped on Lesvos.

Violence often breaks out; mainly over delays in asylum procedures, and poor living conditions.

Earlier this month, a strike against EU and Greek government policy on migrants, was called by the local authority on Lesvos.

In a statement, the island’s municipality called the strike against the policy of turning Lesvos into an “island prison.”