Greek Island of Lesvos Faces Immigration Crisis



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While Greece is in an ever lasting financial -and political- crisis, which according to European Parliament President Martin Schulz and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel could require humanitarian aid, the Greek island of Lesvos is facing a humanitarian crisis of its own.

A United Nations Refugee Agency report released at the end of June found that Greece was the European country with the most seaborne immigrants and refugees for the first half of 2015, totalling to 68,000.

“There has been a major increase in refugees and migrants taking the ‘eastern Mediterranean route’ from Turkey to Greece. More than 85% of those arriving in Greece are from countries experiencing war and conflict, principally Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. From Greece, most move onward across the Balkans to western and northern Europe,” the report found.

A BBC report on July 9 found that up until now 15,000 immigrants and refugees have entered Europe through the Greek island of Lesvos, located in the northern Aegean Sea. With a little over 86,000 citizens, Lesvos is very close to Turkey from the East, North and South and is one of the largest islands in Greece. The island’s proximity to the Turkish coastline makes it a very common gateway to Europe. Up until mid June, Lesvos had approximately 21,600 arrivals by sea in 2015, according to a United Nations news report.

These unprecedented numbers have made the situation in Lesvos especially difficult to handle.The BBC reported that this past Saturday 1,600 people arrived on the island. Local authorities called for help outside the island to control the situation.

Lesvos has one “reception center” in the town of Moria, located in the southeast region. However, this center alone cannot service the increasing number of immigrants and refugees.

Refugees and immigrants who do not stay in the Moria center are settled in tents. Most of the arrivals remain unprocessed as the authorities are unable to supervise all of them. New arrivals must cover long distances on the island to get papers that permit them to stay in Greece for a maximum of six months, deepening on their situation.

The United Nations Refugee Agency report released at the end of June assessed Greece’s reception centers for immigrants and refugees as insufficient and noted that the country generally lacks the infrastructure to deal with the arrivals.

“Greece needs support to be able to rapidly improve its reception and asylum capacity to match the ever-growing needs. Greece needs more assistance to address these challenges,” the report read.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson William Spindler told reporters in mid June that Greek islands are likely to see even greater numbers of immigrant and refugee arrivals in the months to come.

“The number of arrivals is expected to increase further during the summer, when weather conditions make sea crossing from the Turkish mainland less hazardous,” he said.

Splinder noted that despite the increased efforts of the local population and authorities, Greek islands need external help to be effective.


5 COMMENTS

  1. GD aren’t the only ones. KKE are against it too. Ditto for some of the hardline communist elements within Syriza that have finally realized Tsipiras has backtracked on his promises.

    Syriza only remains popular because most of those that voted for this formerly fringe party are morons. They are such morons they can’t even bother to notice him trying to negotiate another bailout… just like Samaras.

    All of this could have been avoided. We had a unity government under Samaras. We could have shared moral responsibility for the sake of our country. Nope. Self-righteous crazies decided to start finger pointing game and demand we spend more money yet again. The irony today is most of those that wagged fingers at Samaras…are the now the target of nearly the entire world’s ridicule.

    They thought if they slandered the rest of us as the “real” problem… the EU would shower them with money. They thought if they betrayed their own countrymen by portraying us as oppressors, the rest of the world would come to save them from the “bad” Greeks. They created their own nightmare when they betrayed Hellenism.

  2. Debt reduction was Samaras proposal

    You already forget your communist leader said he would exit bailout and roll back cuts? Aren’t you the one that claimed Bailout = “fascism”?

    Right under your nose your beloved Marxist leader is now trying to negotiate another bailout after all (including one for our banks)

  3. All I’m getting from your comment is that in your opinion Greek citizens wagging their fingers at Samaras was a betrayal of Hellenism.

    Reality is that Samaras is the most antihellenic, treasonous, corrupt, spineless sleaze to ever lie his way into becoming PM (for less than a full term) in a vile coalition with obese corrupt PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos (now also on the scrapheap of Greek political history) who hid the Lagarde list in his desk for 2 years, is implicated in the submarine scandal and was chauffeured around in a €700,000 state funded Mercedes whilst Greek citizens searched trashcans for food, and committed suicide by the thousands! Antonis Samaras is gone, resigned as ND leader after being rejected by the great Greek people, and despised even by his own party for dragging it down to irreversible ruin.

  4. Calling Samaras , a Hellenic patriot, a “traitor” is absurd. I would say those that twist Hellenism to mean fascism or those that twist Hellenism to mean communism are the closer to betraying Hellenism. They prioritize their foreign ideologies over Hellenism.

    As for popularity, if your were being rational and honest you’d notice in retirement Samaras remains far more popular among Greeks than your fascist leader Michaloliakos who is one truly despised by the vast majority of the Greek people. That a “Greek” would vote for some that admires Nazis, after the atrocities Nazis committed on Greeks, isn’t any different than those the admire communists after the atrocities communists committed Greeks. Greeks fight for Hellenism not communism and fascism.

  5. Tsipiras hass asking for another bailout in exchange for even MORE austerity.

    It shall be interesting to see if you are going to continue to make excuses for him or admit that he’s an incompetent hypocrite that flipflopped.

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